The Bluebells Are Out!
Hooray. May is here. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. I haven’t heard the cuckoo yet but yesterday Claire & I took our annual trip to Muncaster to check out the bluebells, as well as the rhododendrons and azaleas. The colours and the smells were amazing. If you are coming to stay in one of our Lake District cottages in the next couple of weeks you should definitely take a trip to Muncaster. There are so many woodland paths and new discoveries round the next corner that you can easily spend a full day there and feel as though there is so much more to discover.
The bluebell trail is well marked but if you go beyond the signs you will come across the ancient gnarled woodland. At the Castle, if you brave the steep hill from the canons, you’ll come along a riot of colour, wooden bridges and little paths criss-crossing each other. We discovered a walled garden hidden away disappointingly with a big padlock. I’m going to get my childhood copy of the Secret Garden out to read again.
The Georgian walk with its unusual wooden summer houses is a formal, flat walk which has fantastic views down towards the Eskdale valley. From here you can visit Muncaster Church which has amongst its gravestones one for a boy who accidentally killed himself a hundred years ago while amusing himself with a gun by the river when his father was overseeing the repair of the roof of the Castle. The whole story is there to read on the gravestone.
Claire and I had five children with us aged 6, 5, 4, 3 & 2. They ran around for six hours stopping only for a picnic lunch by the (now chopped down) fairy tree up in the Himalayan walk. They loved the woods and they also loved the Meadowvole Maze (deliciously scary if you’re little) and the adventure playground. They also played in amongst the bamboo which I remembered doing with Claire when we were both six. And the rhododendrons are the biggest rhododendrons I’ve ever seen which means great climbing for small children. Dogs are also welcome in the gardens as long as they are kept on a lead.
We didn’t manage to make it into the Castle itself, or the ‘Meet the Birds’ session which happens daily at 2.30pm. We also missed the Heron feeding and the Owl Centre. I feel another visit is needed. It was most definitely one of the best days out I’ve had this year so far.
Muncaster is very handy for visitors staying in our Ravenglass cottages, our Eskdale cottages or our Wasdale cottages. It’s still worth a visit if you’re staying in our other Lake District cottages. It’s about 45 minutes over Cold Fell from Cockermouth or Loweswater, an hour from Keswick or a fantastic drive over England’s steepest road, Hardknott Pass, from Ambleside and Windermere (about an hour again).
PS. I haven’t been this year but the Rannerdale bluebells near Loweswater will also be fantastic now.