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10 Historic And Heritage Sites To Visit In The Lake District

While a lot of the attractions and sites that attract visitors to the Lake District are based around the area’s obvious geographic features, these features also mean that there are many historical sites and attractions for the history lover. From ancient roman forts to museums and galleries that showcase the work of some of the best known residents, you can find something to pique the interest of you and other members of your party. Whether you need a break from the water, from abseiling, or the weather has made the fells and pikes too treacherous to take on, the historical sites of the Lake District are definitely worth a visit.

1 – Ambleside Roman Fort

The Roman fort at Ambleside was used as a means of protecting the trade route from Ravenglass, and although there were no signs of the fort a hundred years ago, excavations that took place in the early 20th Century unearthed a number of ruins. Today, you can clearly see the main headquarters, a residential property attached to the building, and the granaries, outbuildings, and the defences that would have helped provide protection.

2 – Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Stott Park Bobbin Mill made wooden bobbins and was initially a water powered mill. This was eventually replaced by a steam powered mill and, eventually, an electric mill. The mill not only highlights how mills have changed over the past decades, but it also highlights the link between The Lake District and surrounding areas, because the bobbins were made for the cotton industry in Lancashire rather than for local use.

3 – Rusland Tannery

Another location that shows how lake District residents have utilised natural resources and expanded upon them is Rusland Tannery. Tanning is the process of turning animal hides into leather, and it is a long and difficult process that saw workers working in difficult and challenging conditions. As well as being hot and potentially dangerous, the smell was particularly horrendous. Visit Rusland Tannery to get an idea of the working conditions, as well as details of the process that is involved in tanning leather, and how the tannery fit into local life.

4 – Springs Bloomery

A bloomery was a simple furnace that was used to smelt iron ore. The charcoal-heated furnaces were an important part of industrial processes and ancient manufacturing, and the bloomeries where the iron was smelted became an important part of local life. Springs bloomery was excavated in 1897, but this only gave a partial clue as to the extent of the furnace. Further geographical study and geophysical surveys have since shown the exact extent of this furnace. Visitors can see the site and its layout by visiting Springs bloomery.

5 – Coniston Copper Mines

Copper mining was an integral part of the Lake District’s industrial history. First mined in the 1600s, Coniston and the surrounding area became the most profitable copper mining region in the UK. Some of the shafts were over 1,000ft deep but when copper prices fell to a new low in the 19th Century, the copper mines were effectively closed. The copper mines are still an important part of the area’s topography and geography, and if you hike or visit Coniston then you are likely to see evidence of the Copper Mines.

6 – Brantwood Barkpeeler’s Hut

Brantwood Barkpeeler’s Hut is a relatively unique find located on the grounds of Brantwood House. If you travel into some of the older woodlands in the region, you may see the remains of some of these huts, but the Brantwood hut has been fully restored for visitors to see. Bark peelers used to live in these huts during the summer and were responsible for peeling the bark off oak trees for use in tanneries, and also for use by the peelers’ families, who would craft wooden items for use and for resale.

7 – Castlerigg Stone Circle

Although there are a number of stone circles in the Lake District and Cumbria, as a whole, Castlerigg is arguably one of the most significant and substantial. It features 38 large stones which seem to line up with the midwinter sunset. Some of the stones stand as high as 10ft and the site is considered one of the country’s oldest examples of stone circles, dating back approximately 5,000 years. Castlerigg has been a protected site since 1883 and conservation is a constant worry especially due to the site’s current popularity and large number of visitors.

8 – Beatrix Potter Gallery

Beatrix Potter is one of a large number of former residents that have made a name for themselves in their respective fields. The creator of Peter Rabbit was an ardent believer in the National Trust and what it stood for, and she left much of her farmland and even her home to the Trust. The Beatrix Potter gallery is housed in the office of her husband, a former solicitor, and visitors of all ages can learn about the life and works of the authoress. You can also learn how her time in the Lake District helped her to come up with many of the ideas for her books and stories.

9 – Wordsworth House And Museum

William Wordsworth was also an avid fan of the Lake District, penning a book titled A Guide Through The District Of The Lakes, and lived in a number of properties in the area during his life. Dove Cottage, where William Wordsworth lived between 1799 and 1808, is now the Wordsworth Museum and fans of the poet can also visit his childhood home in Cockermouth, where they will be able to relive some of the conditions that Wordsworth enjoyed as a child.

10 – Lakeland Motor Museum

The Lakeland Motor Museum is located in Ulverston and is home to more than 150 vehicles. Exhibitions of note include the Bluebird car, which broke the world land speed record in 1935 as well as the Bluebird Hydroplane, in which Donal Campbell met an untimely end while trying to break the world water speed record in 1967.

The Hideaway Hotel in Windermere offers the ideal location, access to many of the local historical sites and attractions that the Lake District has to offer, and offers luxurious and feature packed accommodation for visitors to enjoy.

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