Ravenstonedale and The Howgills
The Howgill Fells
Cumbria boasts huge areas of the most spectacular and the most varied scenery in England, incorporating The Lake District National Park to the west, parts of The Yorkshire Dales National Park to the east, and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs). Set in The Westmorland Dales, part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Ravenstonedale is a picturesque Eden Valley village within the Howgill Fells, an area of rolling hills home to England’s highest waterfall, Cautley Spout. The Howgills are an unmistakeable landmark providing one of the finest views from any motorway in Britain, and glancing to the east of the M6 between Sedbergh at J37 and Tebay at J38 it’s easy to see why Alfred Wainwright described the Howgill Fells as “looking like a herd of sleeping elephants”. Walkers keen to explore one of the last remaining unspoilt areas of the country might want a copy of Wainwright’s “Walks on The Howgill Fells.”
People in Ravenstonedale are friendly, which seems to be a characteristic of the old county of Westmorland. The village has a strong farming community in an area where farming is tough, and a sense of history. Many of the houses are Victorian, ranging from simple dwellings to houses reflecting the wealth that arrived with the building of the railways, but signs of habitation go back much further. The ruins of a Gilbertine monastic house dating from around the 13th century can be found in the grounds of St Oswald’s church, although the current church building only dates back to the mid 1700s. The interior is interesting as one of the few examples of a church where the pews face in to the aisle.
Our village has two pubs, both with riverside gardens. Artlegarth Beck, which borders our grounds at Green Barn Cottages, runs down to the village where it provides an attractive setting for The King’s Head. The garden at The Black Swan edges Scandal Beck before it’s joined by Artlegarth Beck and runs a further six miles to feed the River Eden north of Kirkby Stephen.
For the size of Ravenstonedale, two thriving pub/restaurants may seem a bit excessive, but you won’t hear locals or visitors complaining! Their décor and atmosphere are different, but both are equally welcoming and both serve very good food. The King’s Head had a massive refurbishment completed in 2011, and The Black Swan was the winner of the AA England Pub of the Year Award for 2012/2013. Both pubs are dog friendly. Which to choose? We’ve decided we like whichever one we happen to be in at the time! There’s a tennis court and small golf course in the village, both of which are available to visitors, and a children’s playground. There’s more information to be found on the Ravenstonedale website. (Opens in a new window).
Green Barn Cottages
Open countryside and farmland stretches out from Ravenstonedale, and at our location a mile from the main part of the village it’s hard to believe that you’re only a 15 minute drive from the M6 motorway and the rest of the World! Across the beck at the top end of Ravenstonedale a single track road leads through open land alongside Artlegarth Beck and we’re located down a track and about 400 yards away from the road. Outside our entrance is Ravenstonedale Common, grazed by local sheep and Fell Ponies, and a gate leads onto an area of open land named on Ordnance Survey maps as Paradise!
From our grounds you have views out to Wild Boar Fell whose slopes and flat top at over 700 metres provide a dominant and dramatic landmark to the area, although wild boar haven’t been present for over 500 years. There’s a magnificent view of Mallerstang Edge, and you can spot the standing stones at Nine Standards Rigg, a feature of the famous Coast to Coast Walk. The origin of the stones is unknown, with theories ranging from them being built by the Romans to appear as guarding troops from a distance, through a boundary marker, to Wainwright’s suggestion that they were built by locals who were just bored!
We can’t promise you a sight of a Red Squirrel as soon as you arrive, but you’d be unlucky not to see one of Britain’s favourite, and now sadly rare, mammals during your stay; depending on time of year you could also spot Buzzards (watch out for them being mobbed by other birds over Paradise), Curlews, Swallows and Martins in abundance, Sparrowhawk, Heron and numerous other species of birds, plus on summer evenings the wonderful sight of small bats tracking insects on the wing at twilight as you sit by the barbecue. Wherever you choose to visit and whatever you choose to do during your stay at Green Barn Cottages, we hope you’ll also take away some good memories of our location.