The Secret Garden of the North
It was a chance remark that took me to High Force Waterfall. It’s actually in County Durham (within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) although confusingly there is another High Force Waterfall at Ullswater which is equally excellent. The one I’m talking about here though, is still handy if you’re staying in our Ullswater cottages or our Eden cottages– it’s just an hour’s drive from Penrith.
With a 71ft drop it is one of the highest waterfalls in England and a pretty woodland walk takes you to it (a third of a mile). There is a charge of £1.50 plus car parking as it is owned by Raby Castle (which is situated 20 miles further east).
We combined our trip to High Force with a visit to Eggleston Hall Gardens which is just five minutes from the waterfall. Make sure you have an empty car boot for buying plants. The café is a great place for lunch. More importantly, at Eggleston there are beautiful gardens which happen to also have a ruined chapel in part of them – sounds bizarre but is oddly very peaceful.
Eggleston Hall Gardens philosophy is also unusual but makes perfect sense and is taken from a phrase spoken by Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project:
"If you don't want to get drunk in it, you can't be inspired to dream in it and you don't want to make love in it, then [you might as well] tarmac it,"
Here’s to the ‘Secret Garden of the North!’