Little Salkeld is one of many effortlessly pretty villages that are dotted throughout the Eden Valley. The valley has a timeless feel to it and there are plenty of great walks in the area that can be enjoyed from our self-catering cottages in the Eden Valley and Cumbria.
Here is one walk we went on recently starting in Little Salkeld, which took in Lacy’s Caves on the river and Long Meg Stone Circle too. Best of all, after your exertion there is a quaint tearoom for you to visit back in Little Salkeld for the most delicious homemade organic food and cakes.
Credit: Cumbria Tourism
Lacy’s Caves can be found on the banks of the River Eden. In the 18th Century Colonel Lacy commissioned these caves to be carved out of the sandstone rock. Originally, he had rhododendron gardens landscaped for his guests to walk through before he would entertain them at the caves himself. The walk is still a pleasant amble through the woods, where the rhododendrons still thrive and the caves offer a bizarre surprise.
Little Salkeld, merely a few miles east of Penrith, is the starting point for the walk. It is a very small village and there is limited parking. Turn left at the sign for Long Meg and left again at the grass triangle. You should find somewhere to park along this road.
To reach the caves, carry on along this road on foot. The road forks right to a farm track and it is just a case of following the path to the caves. If you have dogs or children with you, please note that there are some sheer drops near the path. The caves are in the woods on the edge of the river and are great fun to explore, especially when trying to find all the intricate carvings held within.
Credit: Cumbria Tourism
From Colonel Lacy’s caves you can either turn back to Little Salkeld the way you came (maybe you fancy that cake a little earlier than expected) or carry on to Long Meg Stone Circle, which Colonel Lacy once tried to blow up when he lived at Salkeld Hall; luckily a thunderstorm dissuaded him from his attempts!
To reach Long Meg from the caves, carry on along the riverside path, then across a field, over the brow of the hill and cross over the stile. This takes you to Daleraven Bridge and a road. Turn right here and walk up the road for about 500 yards. Follow the road along the sharp left bend, and then a double bend and then immediately after this turn right through a gap towards a gate (there is no footpath sign here until after you have gone through).
Follow the path to the end and then turn right (sign-posted Long Meg). Follow the path towards Long Meg Farm and then follow the farm road to Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle (sometimes referred to as ‘Maughanby Circle’).
Long Meg is easy to spot; she is nearly 4 metres tall! There are some 27 stones that remain upright although originally the stone circle was much bigger with about 70 stones. There are one or two examples of megalithic art and the four corners of Long Meg face the four points of the compass. Rather at odds with the setting, the farm track, unfortunately, goes right through the middle of the stone circle.
To get back to Little Salkeld follow the farm track back to the road, turn right and walk along the road back to Little Salkeld (note that there are no pavements along the road).
Now it’s time for a well-earned treat. Back in the village on the road into Little Salkeld is the watermill that produces and sells organic flour. The attached tearoom smells unbelievably tempting, with a vegetarian menu of homemade cakes, soups, tarts and pies. Definitely worth a stop for a spell!
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