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Threlkeld & St John's in the Vale
Threlkeld sits in a picturesque setting below the imposing face of Blencathra. Three rocky spurs draw your eyes skywards and the mountain appears symmetrical when viewed from the southeast. The village boasts two pubs and is popular with fell walkers. The village looks down to St John's in the Vale, a pretty valley with very little development and plenty of scenic walks.
Views and Walks Galore
Threlkeld village nestles under Blencathra mountain (or Saddleback as it used to be called) with south-facing views to St John's in the Vale and Helvellyn (accessed via Clough Head).
There are some fantastic walks in and around Threlkeld and St John's in the Vale. Why not nip up Blencathra before breakfast? If you're feeling brave, try the Sharp Edge route that involves a scramble near the top (not for the faint hearted).
If you prefer a more leisurely walk, there is one near the church at St John's in the Vale which takes in Bridge End cafe on the way back - one of my favourites!
The mining museum at Threlkeld Quarry has some fantastic big machines, gold panning and a steam railway.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg stone circle is something of a beautiful mystery. No one quite knows why it is there, or even how it got there. What little we do know is that it was built around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and one of the earliest stone circles in not only Britain but Europe too. It has been noted that the stones are directly aligned with the autumn equinox sunrise.
The site of Castlerigg is on top of a small hill between Keswick and Threlkeld. It is visually spectacular. The 360 degree view includes Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Blencathra.
You can easily walk or cycle to Castlerigg from St John’s in the Vale or Threlkeld, both making for a very pleasant couple of hours. Try and count how many stones make up the circle. It is said to vary from 38 to 42!
Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum
The Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum is in a dramatic setting beneath the face of Clough Head fell, directly between Threlkeld and St John's in the Vale.
Run by enthusiastic staff and volunteers, there is something for all ages to enjoy. There is a mine tour suitable for all ages, and an interesting geology and mining museum. A narrow gauge locomotive hauls passenger trains on a daily basis during the summer months and at Christmas operates the Santa Special! The train ride travels up hill past the engine sheds and vintage machinery, right into the heart of the blasted out fell side.
The museum sits in the disused micro granite quarry in an area of the Lake District where copper, iron, lead, zinc, tungsten, graphite, barites and fluorite were mined. It contains a fascinating array of artefacts, plans and photographic records of explorations of many local mines. Walkers may find particular interest in the photographs featuring well-known fells and their changing faces after years of mining activity
Enjoy a Hearty Meal
Threlkeld boasts two pubs conveniently situated across the road from each other – the Sally and the Horse and Farrier. The Sally has recently been refurbished and has a warm contemporary bar with the original beams and fireplace. You can also order takeaway pizza.
Over the road is the Horse and Farrier. It is a really atmospheric pub with a slate floor and original beams, just full of character. You can get an excellent pint of Jennings here and the Sunday lunch is so good, they are often booked up weeks in advance.
After a huge investment and building project, the village hall has been gutted and renovated to provide a home to a coffee shop.
Over in St John’s in the Vale there is a fabulous little tea garden at Low Bridge End Farm. The tea garden is quite often self service, this only adds to the lovely quaint feel to the garden and conservatory where you can enjoy homemade cake, hot drinks and a selection of chocolate bars.
Dale Head Hall is a grand 16th century country house on the shore of Thirlmere. The hotel takes bookings from non residents and has an AA rosette for its menu.