Things to do nearby Meadow Barn
Meadow Barn is perfectly placed to make the most of the unspoiled Duddon Valley and its nature-rich estuary. Take in one of the quieter fells or a riverside amble in picturesque Seathwaite or potter round the charming village of Broughton-in-Furness. Why not take a drive to popular Coniston nearby? You can explore Lakeland's heritage at one of its museums or enjoy a jaunt out on the lake on a steam gondola. Take a walk right from the door to the Duddon Mosses National Nature Reserve, which is home to a huge variety of significant species and habitat. Or just enjoy a meal at one of Broughton-in Furness' lovely pubs.
The charming town of Broughton-in-Furness sits between the Duddon Estuary and the southern Lake District fells. It has an ancient history and a gently bustling village atmosphere. Set around a Georgian market square with a stone obelisk at its centre Broughton boasts several pubs, two cafes and some much loved village shops.
The rich history of the area is well worth exploring. The position of the town at its strategic point on the Duddon Estuary made it the obvious disembarkation point for successions of Celts, Romans and Vikings. The town has some older buildings, notably the 300-year-old Old King’s Head, but most are Georgian. The church of St Mary Magdalene lies a mile to the south of Broughton, and is well worth a visit. Parts of the building are Saxon, parts Norman, with a grand eighteenth century clock tower and Victorian additions.
To the west of Duddon Bridge lies the stone circle of Swinside, described by Aubrey Burl as ‘the loveliest of all the circles’ with an aspect to compare with Castlerigg, at Keswick, and Long Meg in the Eden Valley. Swinside is signposted from the A595, with the nearest parking spot at Crag Hall, a little more than a mile from the circle. There is a rough path from here just to the south of Swinside Farm. The circle consists of 51 stones, in a perfect circle about 90 feet in diameter.
The village of Ulpha, whose Norse name means ‘Wolf’s hill’, considers itself capital of the valley. The riverside is a popular place for picnics. It has a handy village shop and post office, which sells fishing licences for the river. The pool underneath the bridge is a popular swimming place on warm sunny days. Why not pack a picnic and spend a warm afternoon by the riverside?
The village of Seathwaite – not to be confused with the Seathwaite in Borrowdale – is a tiny place with a good, 17th century pub, the Newfield Inn. The Inn is home to the Duddon Valley Fell Races, which take place in May, and serves local beer and food. It also sells fishing licences for Seathwaite Tarn. There are a number of excellent walks from the village including a circular river walk, which can take in an exciting stepping-stone crossing. You can also wander up Caw Fell from the pub and reward yourself with a gorgeous pub meal afterwards.
Seathwaite Tarn is the third largest in the Lakes, and sits at 1200 feet above sea level on the west-facing slopes of the Coniston fells. The Duddon Valley is particularly popular with walkers, with its proximity to Coniston Old Man, Scafell Pike, Dow Crag, Harter Fell, Caw and Greyfriar. Gentler walks can be had at the stunning Wallabarrow Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which has an array of native flowers and plants. Wallabarrow Crag is an excellent spot for climbing.
Coniston lies nearby and is justifiably famous for many reasons. Set on the shores of pristine Coniston Water there are many walks to be had, from easy strolls around the lake to challenging mountain climbs, including the Old Man of Coniston, at 2600 feet.
Why not explore the beautiful Coniston Valley from the water? You could take a cruise on the elegant Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola, alternatively take one of the Coniston Launches to one of the various landing stages around the lake. Brantwood, the home of Victorian polymath John Ruskin, has its own landing stage and the launch company offer ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Campbells on Coniston’ tours too. The more energetic Swallows and Amazons among you can hire their own rowing boats, sailing dinghies, canoes or kayaks from Coniston Pier and create their own adventures on the lake where Arthur Ransome was inspired to write his stories.
Coniston Water also has a long and illustrious history of power boating and water speed records. Donald Campbell sadly lost his life here in a record attempt in 1964. Campbell’s story is told in the Ruskin Museum, which also celebrates Coniston’s heritage with exhibits on John Ruskin, slate and copper mining as well as the lace and farming industries. The Lakeland Motor Museum, at nearby Holker Hall, has the Campbell Legend Bluebird Exhibition, with replica hydroplanes and photographs.
Situated at the tip of the South Lakes Peninsula Barrow in Furness is the largest town in the area and boasts rich industrial and religious heritage and some wonderful coastline to explore. To explore the industrial heritage of the area why not visit Barrow’s Dock Museum? It makes for an interesting visit explaining how the town became an incredibly important port for iron and steel movement and how it then became synonymous with shipbuilding. Today visitors can often see one of the mighty submarines being built in the dockyards nearby.
Visit the remains of the once majestic Furness Abbey, a mighty red sandstone ruin that was once one of the wealthiest Cistercian abbeys in the country. The abbey owned a vast amount of land in the area and developed a harbour at nearby Walney Island and built a castle for defence on Piel Island.
From Broughton-in-Furness visitors are also well placed to explore the popular tourist destinations of Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere. Ambleside is a lovely Victorian town at the head of Windermere with a range of independent shops and galleries. There are also many acclaimed restaurants in Ambleside, perhaps you might enjoy a cinema evening at Zeffirelli’s or Fellini’s, two charming cinemas frequently showing independent films with excellent vegetarian restaurants attached to them.
If you read the books of Beatrix Potter as a child, or indeed if you are enjoying reading them again as a parent or grandparent then take a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness and find out more about all your favourite characters – Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, the Two Bad Mice – they’re all in there. Some more fun family days out include the Aquarium of the Lakes at Newby Bridge 14 miles away where kids can have lots of fun with Oscar the Otter. Why not team it up with a visit to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite steam railway, which stops just next door?