Mayburgh Henge and Brougham Castle

Walk Date – 12th November 2017

Distance – 5.5 miles

Weather – sunny with a strong and a bitterly cold north wind

 

We thought that it might be very busy in the Lakes today what with the fine weather and the various fell top Remembrance Sunday services this weekend so this, together with the strong, cold northerly wind, decided us against venturing onto the fells today. We thought that this pleasant little walk, mostly alongside the River Eamont and only four miles from home, would be just the thing for a bracing autumnal walk on a very sunny Sunday afternoon.


Route

B5320 Millenium Stone – Mayburgh Henge – Eamont Bridge – Carletonhall Park – A66 – Brougham Castle – Brougham Hall – B5320 Millenium Stone

The blue arrows indicate the detour alongside the A66 as the Brougham Castle Bridge is still being repaired.

The Millenium Stone beside the B5320 just outside Eamont Bridge. We parked off to the left at the bottom of the lane behind the stone.

The henge is clearly visible beyond the wall from the small car parking area and the entrance to it is just a short distance along the lane to the left.

All you might want to know about the henge and after reading it we went through the gate and started to climb up it.

The view from the rim of the circular bank, roughly 20′ high, which encompasses a huge area, about 380′ in diameter, at the centre of which is the remaining single standing stone. Dotted all around are mounds of the river cobbles used to construct the henge.

Looking eastward from the rim of the henge towards the houses of Eamont Bridge with the enormous bulk of Cross Fell on the centre skyline behind them. To the right of it the white radome on Great Dun Fell is catching the sunlight.

A closer look at the snow capped Cross Fell. It has been cloud covered this past week so exactly when the snow arrived on it is hard to say, quite probably last Sunday, when Helvellyn and a few other tops received a similar covering.

The remaining standing stone, approximately 6′ tall, in the centre of the henge …..

….. and a view of it from the other side.

From the henge we returned to the lane and continued on to Southwaite Green where, just past the cottages, this step stile is situated. No need to climb the stile as there is a walkway between it and the wall beyond. The M66 runs very close to, and parallel with, this little lane so the traffic noise is constant and unavoidable.

The path from the stile was in deep shade so it became a degree or so chillier along here but at least it was firm and dry …..

….. and over on our right as we walked alongside the field we had a view of the other side of the henge.

The path leads us back to Eamont Bridge, a Grade 1 listed building dating from the 15th century. It was closed following the damage it sustained during Storm Desmond in December 2015 and re-opened in March 2016. The traffic coming up from the south on the A6 was diverted along the narrow back lanes over to the A66 to the east creating some very trying times, and some very muddy conditions, for both residents and drivers.

A later addition, and definitely less picturesque, is the pedestrian bridge which runs alongside it. At the end of this we follow the path to the right along the river bank.

We are diverted from the riverside path which culminates at the private house of Low Mill …..

….. and enjoy a short but very pleasant spell of woodland walking.

At the end of the wood crossing the stile brings us out onto the open fields alongside the river. Over on the right a stone built structure attracted our attention …..

….. so off we went to investigate. Its all that is left of what once seemed to be a footbridge. Steps leading up the remains of the pier, a similar pier lying on its side in the water just below the opposite bank, with lots of dressed stone strewn amongst the river cobbles all the way along the river bank. No way of knowing when the bridge disappeared though.

It was bitterly cold in the wind as we walked the lovely riverside path and we could well imagine how strong the wind chill would have been on the fell tops today.

We cross the river once again via this gated bridge …..

….. where a very full and fast flowing river sparkled in the sunlight as it rattled its way over the rocks, stones and cobbles.

Beyond the bridge and we reach a much calmer stretch of river …..

….. which was soon followed by another section of turbulence.

Attached to one of the gateposts was this tiled engraving presumably of birds or waterfowl which might be seen along here. There was no indication of what they were so we were none the wiser having seen it. Some type of plover was the best we could come up with, but we could be way off the mark with that guess.

A solitary fisherman hoping for a brown trout catch I expect. Having dipped my hand into the river some way back I hoped he was wearing very warm socks and thermal underwear beneath his fishing clothing. My fingers went numb in seconds and the glove went back on sharpish.

Across the river we get our first view of Brougham Castle (pronounced Broom if you’re wondering).

The riverside path comes to an end at this gate and tips us out onto a lane which normally would lead us back to another bridge crossing below the castle. Unfortunately the bridge is still under repair, having also been damaged in December 2015 during Storm Desmond, and the road leading to it was closed, hence the blue diversion arrows on the route map.

It was either turn back and retrace our route or brave the narrow verge beside the busy A66. We stuck it out but it wasn’t at all pleasant. It isn’t meant to be for pedestrians of course, although walking alongside it isn’t prohibited, but we were glad when we reached the side road where we could turn off onto the quieter back roads again.

From the A66 road bridge across the river we could see that repair work is still ongoing, this bridge is due to re-open by the end of this month. (Update: the bridge was re-opened on Friday 15th December 2017) Here’s a link if you’d like to know more –http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/Another-milestone-in-Cumbrias-flooding-fightback-as-historic-bridge-reopened-6cf72ddb-3ef0-4a4a-a134-643e59e2dae7-ds

Here’s what it looked like after Storm Desmond had finished wreaking its havoc.

We completed our detour and once on the opposite bank went down to the bridge as far as we could before the road barriers prevented us, and anyone else, going any further. Brougham Castle has a a lovely setting beside the river. This was another of Lady Anne Clifford’s properties, it eventually became her main residence and its where she died in 1676.

We didn’t go into the castle so this was as close as I could get for a shot of it. Notice the flag, not once did it drop from the horizontal such was the strength of the wind today.

We leave the castle behind and take to the lanes again. The castle is now hidden behind the trees and the flat area in front of them is the site of the old Roman fort of Brocavum dating from around AD 76. Its the northern end of the Roman road across High Street which linked this fort with one near Ambleside at the northern end of Windermere.

A last look back at the castle, and its still horizontal flag, as we continue along the quiet country lane …..

….. through an avenue of oaks and on towards …..

….. Brougham Hall …..

….. with its imposing gateway. The gateway, although it has had some repairs, is largely in its original state, even down to the metal studs, hinges, and bolts.

The hall, once another of Lady Anne Clifford’s properties, was rescued from demolition in 1985 and is now a Charitable Trust housing several small businesses and a cafe. Being in need of a hot drink we called in for coffee and cake, and very nice it was too.

Not much further to go now as we take to the road again and pass another of the Hall’s gates with its somewhat startling door knocker …..

….. a close up of which brings today’s walk to an end. Well not quite, there is still another few minutes of walking back to the car but its on the pavement alongside the busy A6 and not very appealing so I didn’t bother with any more shots. Its a grand little walk, just right for a decent bit of exercise and good dose of fresh air after a Sunday lunch or even a Christmas one.