Things to do nearby Turner How Cottage
Tucked down a quiet lane and situated between Lorton and Buttermere, Turner How Cottage offers a wealth of things to enjoy in its surroundings. From high level walks in the fantastic array of fells around it to gentle woodland strolls leading to crystal clear lakes this really is a fantastic base to enjoy the unspoilt nature of this magnificent area.
If you’re looking for cottage with fantastic walks from the door then this is most certainly the place. There are a variety of walks to Crummock Water through Lanthwaite Woods. This lake is a stunning body of water, a wild swimmer’s paradise really. You could also go in search of secret swimming pools along the river nearby. A walk to the top of the Brackenthwaite How, which is covered in bluebells in May will afford you magnificent views down the Crummock and Buttermere valleys to Red Pike, Great Gable and many more fells. Or take one of the many local footpaths to the base of Whiteside and Grassmoor to embark on the higher fells right from your door. Loweswater Lake is just two miles away and it makes a gorgeous circuit walk passing a cracking pub on route. The Kirkstile Inn is a well renowned pub just one mile away from the cottage offering fantastic home cooked food and prize winning ales from its own micro-brewery. Better visit on the way back from your walks as you might not want to leave its cosy bar if you call in as you embark!
The Honister Rambler bus covers a circuit route to Keswick in both directions over the Honister and Whinlatter passes which stops at the end of the lane. So check out the timetable and it can be used to travel back from linear walks opening up a huge array of fells without ever troubling your car keys.
As for cycling, well where to start? There is a fantastic array of bridleways both natural and man-made in the surrounding area for mountain bikers. For ‘roadies’ you have three stunning mountain passes (part of the Fred Whitton route and many more classic sportives) within easy reach. You also have plenty of safe storage space for bikes in the cottage.
Should adventure be high on your Lake District to do list then Turner How is perfectly placed. Whinlatter forest park is just a 15 minute drive away. England’s only mountain forest park it boasts nature trails (some recent ones have been based around Julia Donaldson’s stories so you might encounter a Gruffalo or a Stick man!), orienteering trails, graded walks suitable for all terrain-buggies and adventurous wheelchair users, wonderful viewpoints and red squirrels. Huge bird feeders outside the popular café attract a range of birds almost as diverse as the ones at Turner How! From here you can also keep tabs on the Bassenthwaite Ospreys between April and August. To the side of the café is a bike shop offering courses and bikes to buy or hire. Some excellent single track mountain bike trails start from here, graded to cater for all abilities. Behind the shop is a free adventure playground and above this the ‘Go Ape’ high ropes course (10yrs+) lets the adventurous among you get high up in the canopy.
An eight mile drive in the other direction from the cottage will take you to Honister Slate Mine. A tour down the mine takes you through a journey in time. It is thought that slate has been mined here for 900 years although the earliest confirmed records date back to the early 1700s, it remains the only working slate mine in the country. Also at Honister is England’s only Via Ferrata and Europe’s longest rope bridge – the Infinity Bridge. The Via Ferrata is a series of cables that you attach yourself to before climbing a series of metal rungs that are attached to the mountainside. It might sound easy but it’s a wild and woolly experience, not for the faint hearted but a memory you’ll be talking about for a long time to come!
If you’d like to enjoy a gentler side of the Lake District then the villages of Lorton and Buttermere make delightful places to visit nearby. Both have excellent places to eat and drink, Lorton also has a local shop much treasured by the villagers and useful for basics and local produce and crafts. On the way to Buttermere is Rannerdale Knotts, one of the smaller Lakeland fells it is said to be the site of a battle between the native Cumbrians and Norsemen and the invading Normans in the late 11th or early 12th century. Today if you’re visiting in late spring you’ll most likely be rewarded with a stunning array of bluebells on its eastern slopes. In Lorton you’ll find the Lorton Yew a 1,000-year-old Yew tree, famously celebrated by Wordsworth:
‘There is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore…’ (Wordsworth)
Wordsworth’s literary legacy can be explored more fully at Cockermouth, the vibrant local town where he was born. It’s a lovely place to visit with a wealth of independent shops, a great local music scene and fantastic places to eat and drink less than seven miles away.
Keswick, the adventure capital of the Lake District is less than 11 miles away. It’s a bustling market town with a plethora of outdoor shops, restaurants and cafes. It also boasts its own old-school, theatre-style cinema with a balcony and surely one of the most stunningly situated theatres anywhere in the country offering a great programme of productions throughout the year.
You could, of course, just happily enjoy the garden surrounding the cottage with its wealth of wild flowers and views over the surrounding fields. Throughout the year you’ll see wonderful examples of Herdwicks, the friendly looking native breed of sheep. These are the hardy creatures who keep the fells looking the way they do. If you are lucky enough to visit during lambing time you’ll see these gorgeous little things gambolling about just outside the garden.
Whatever the range of people and tastes in your party Turner How Cottage is a wonderful base to make the most of all that the Lake District has to offer.