Things to do nearby Bitt Cottage
Bitt Cottage is in a wonderful position to enjoy the western fells and the Cumbrian coastline. Why not walk up Irton Pike, just above the hamlet of Santon Bridge? Head out to the coast at Ravenglass and catch the La'al Ratty, the narrow gauge steam engine that runs from the coast to the fells at Boot. While at Ravenglass you could enjoy a visit to Muncaster Castle which is a historic gem with glorious gardens. Head inland and enjoy the stunning walking on offer in Wasdale and Eskdale.
The Western Lake District is a wonderfully unspoiled area to explore. Its scenery offers a wilder and more rugged side to the Lakes, which gives way to open rolling countryside leading down to its quiet coast. Santon is perfectly placed at the gateway to the stunning Wasdale Valley and just a short drive to the magical Eskdale valley or out to the quiet coast. The walking opportunities from the hamlet are endless including gentle riverside potters and mighty fell tops.
Santon Bridge is a quaint hamlet with plenty of opportunities for paddling and stone skimming along the beautiful river Irt. It also boasts a well renowned pub and a gorgeous cafe with a craft shop just a mile away. Perfect for rewarding yourself with a sumptuous afternoon tea or a pub meal and a pint after your outdoor exertions. Don't forget the Santon Bridge Inn isn't just a welcoming local pub, it most famously plays host to the World's Biggest Liar competition each November, well worth a visit.
The valley of Wasdale must certainly be ranked as one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in the entire country. While its staggering scenery is a magnet for walkers, cyclists, divers, swimmers and general potterers it still retains its unspoiled quality and feeling of remoteness. It's a place with many superlatives attached to it, indeed it is the proud home of England's highest mountain, deepest lake, smallest church as well as that competition for the World's biggest liar! It's also home to some excellent pubs and even a microbrewery. The valley offers unrivalled opportunities for walking with the mightiest Lakeland peaks, the Scafells, rearing up from the valley floor. They are an obvious choice for the energetic and well-prepared rambler, however don't be intimidated by the high fells as there are also many less demanding fell walks with extremely rewarding views. Not to mention the many glorious low-level rambles on a network of bridleways and footpaths.
Wastwater itself is an absolute jewel, a crystal clear lake which is a delight to behold. The lake is very peaceful as motorboats aren’t permitted (apart from the mountain rescue team!). You are welcome to bring your own kayaks, canoes and rowing boats and enjoy the mountain scenery from a different perspective. There are plenty of picnic spots and beautiful places to swim or go for a paddle. A wild swimmer's paradise. Wastwater is a magnet for divers and rumour has it there is a gnome garden in the depths of the chilly waters and the remains of a WW2 plane. For expert divers only of course. If you’d like your outdoor adventures taken care of by experts then Westlakes Adventure is a company based nearby providing outdoor activities for individuals, couples, families and groups. Their activities include rock climbing, ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding and kayaking. Why not book a family kayaking trip on the lake?
Eskdale is a wonderfully unspoilt valley, which offers fabulous food, real ales and a host of opportunities for walking and cycling for all abilities. One of the most popular things to do in Eskdale is to take a trip on the famous Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, more popularly known as the La'al Ratty. This narrow gauge steam railway makes a leisurely seven-mile journey from Ravenglass to Boot taking in some staggering scenery along the way. There are play parks and cafes at both ends of the line and the new museum at Ravenglass is a must for anyone keen to find out about the history of this most loved of West Cumbrian attractions.
Like Wasdale, Eskdale offers access to big adventures up the Scafells as well as Bowfell and Esk Hause. As well as big hikes to the highest fells, there are some lovely walks on the valley floor and along the beautiful river Esk. Why not take a walk up from the village to the wonderfully named Giggle Alley, from here you can head to the Japanese Garden; a beautifully tranquil spot. There's also the gentle potter from Boot to the gorgeous spectacle of Stanley Ghyll Force, well worth a wander. Further up the valley as you head up the steep switchback road that is Hardknott Pass (not for the faint hearted driver or passenger!) you’ll come to the staggering setting of Hardknott Roman Fort. The fort was built under Hadrian’s rule in the 2nd century. It guarded the pass on the road from Ravenglass to Ambleside and was policed by troops from the eastern Adriatic. Today visitors can explore remains including the barracks, commandant’s house, parade ground and bathhouse. Or you can sit and take in the view imagining what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago.
Muncaster Castle makes a great day out, it sits high above the estuary where the river Esk meets the Irish Sea at Ravenglass and has a well-deserved reputation as one of Cumbria’s most popular attractions. The Castle makes a great rainy day visit where you can learn more about its colourful history. The original foundations of the building itself date back as far as 79AD - construction of the castle that you see today was started in 1258. As you can imagine with a castle in such an incredible position on the very edges of the country, it is steeped in history, with tales of kings and queens of murder and intrigue and ghostly presences everywhere! The grounds at Muncaster are just as much of a delight as you can watch stunning bird of prey displays, explore a meadow vole maze, enjoy the play park, café and shop as well as seeing the most stunning displays of bluebells and rhododendrons when in season
Ravenglass is the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park. It's a special little place with an atmosphere all of its own. Ravenglass is the only coastal village within the Lake District National Park. It makes a delightful place for a visit with its feeling of a gentle old fashioned way of life. Three rivers meet at Ravenglass (Esk, Irt, and Mite) to form an estuary and natural harbour. 2000 years ago, it was the location for an important Roman port and military fort and later became a bustling fishing town. Today, Ravenglass is better known as the starting point for the Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway (La’al Ratty). There are several eateries in the village where you can get locally sourced and home cooked food and real ales. There's also a cafe and play park at the station to while away a sunny afternoon. Why not take a bike and explore either the 11 mile Eskdale trail or follow some of the Hadrian's Cycleway along the coastline?
As for the Cycling opportunities in the area, well, where to begin? For mountain biking the area offers trails to suit all abilities with low level forest tracks and more technical bridleways. For roadies you have one of England’s steepest roads at the head of the Eskdale valley to challenge you as well as wonderfully rewarding quiet roads up Corney fell and Birker Moor. Indeed many of the Lake District’s most challenging cycling events pass nearby. If hills aren’t to your taste there are some lovely rides out on the coast with beautiful views.
Golfers are well catered for with the Eskdale Valley's own 9 hole course five miles down the road as well as popular links courses at nearby Seascale (5 miles) and Silecroft (15 miles). Alternatively for something different why not head to "Horse and Husky" nearby where you could find yourself splashing along the coast on horseback or sledding behind a team of huskies!
Instead of heading inland to the fells why not explore more of the culture of this coastline? Whitehaven is a Georgian Harbour town 15 miles up the coast with a colourful history involving rum, sugar and piracy! The Rum Story makes a great place to start your visit and from there you can follow their ‘Quest’ around the town’s historical landmarks. It is also the start to the 140 mile long C2C cycle route. Closer by is Egremont where you can find the remains of a Norman Castle and just south of the town is Florence Mine, the last working iron ore mine in Europe, and part of the rich mining history of West Cumbria.