Digging for Lead
Glenridding grew up on the back of lead mining. One of the most productive lead mines in the whole country was located here. In the early days, Glenridding was not accessible by road, so a steamer service was established on the lake to bring in food and provisions for the miners. This service still operates today in the form of Ullswater 'Steamers' - but the boats are more likely to be dropping off quantities of visitors rather than victuals. You can still see the huge spoil heaps along the valley and rows of former miners' cottages leading up the fellside. The local Tourist Information Centre has information and displays on this former industry. Smaller lead mines were in operation elsewhere – Myers Head Lead Mine near Hartsop has several preserved remains including a wheel pit and stone pillars that once supported a wooden water conduit.
A Potter In Patterdale
Here are two scenic walks to try out: Hartsop to Patterdale Take the local bus from Patterdale to Hartsop and enjoy a gentle saunter back along the eastern side of the valley. Angle Tarn and Hayeswater For something a little more challenging, follow the old packhorse route from Patterdale to Boredale Hause and then take the footpath to Angle Tarn. This serene body of water with its picturesque inlets and grassy knolls is surrounded by low hills. From here you can continue walking to Hayeswater (a former reservoir that is reverting back to a natural mountain tarn following removal of the weir dam) and return via Hartsop back to the start point in Patterdale.
A Lakeside Stroll
Here are three scenic walks to try out: Hartsop to Patterdale Take the local bus from Patterdale to Hartsop and enjoy a gentle saunter back along the eastern side of the valley. Angle Tarn and Hayeswater For something a little more challenging, follow the old packhorse route from Patterdale to Boredale Hause and then take the footpath to Angle Tarn. This serene body of water with its picturesque inlets and grassy knolls is surrounded by low hills. From here you can continue walking to Hayeswater (a former reservoir that is reverting back to a natural mountain tarn following removal of the weir dam) and return via Hartsop back to the start point in Patterdale.
The white-stuccoed farmhouse to the south of Brothers Water is one of the oldest buildings in the valley. It dates back to Norman times when it was established as a local manor by the Barons of Kendal. Tithes were paid here, disputes settled and the nearby deer parks were managed on behalf of the local lord. Today, the building is owned by the National Trust, and can be easily viewed from footpaths that pass through the farm.
You can stay on the Hartsop Hall Estate at Dovedale Cottage or Caudale Beck.
The road up to the top of the pass is a long and tortuous one, but fortunately with plenty of passing points. As you ascend, look out for a large boulder on the right-hand side that resembles the gable end of a building. This is the stone that gave its name to Kirkstone – the ‘church stone’ as it was thought to look like the gable end of a church.
It is worth pausing at the top to enjoy the stunning views back down the valley towards Patterdale, and enjoy some refreshments at the Kirkstile Inn (the 3rd highest inn in England at 1500 ft/450 m). An inn has been on this site since 1496, providing essential food and accommodation for weary travellers who have toiled up the pass on foot or on horseback. Nowadays, we generally arrive by vehicle but still appreciate the odd refreshment or two!
Venture a bit further over the top for far-reaching views to the south. If the conditions are good, you might just spot a section of the lake at Windermere in the far distance.
Did you know that the name Patterdale is derived from ‘Patrichesdale’ – or St Patrick’s Dale? St Patrick (the patron saint of Ireland) is said to have been shipwrecked on Duddon Sands and walked from there to Patterdale where he preached at a holy well (still visible on the roadside). The local church, dedicated to the saint, was established later. Inside there are three exquisite needlework panels by Ann Macbeth – a nationally acclaimed embroiderer of the early 20th century.
A Scenic Drive Through Antiquity
Enjoy a leisurely drive through Patterdale from north to south. Leaving the lake of Ullswater behind, you enter a pastoral landscape of green fields grazed by Herdwick sheep and dotted with traditional Lakeland farms and outbuildings. Here and there are traces of a forgotten past: solitary field barns, grass-covered mounds indicating the presence of ancient settlements, and spoil heaps from the legacy of small mining enterprises. High on the left is a continuous ridge at the top of which is ‘High Street’ – a former prehistoric route that was used by the Romans to link their forts at Brougham (Brocavum) and Ambleside (Galava).
Read our introduction to Sally's Cottages and Lake District holidays, be it a short break or longer, including pet friendly cottages. Or read our area guide to Ullswater and cottages in the area.