Central Lake District

Gaitscale Farmstead

Gaitscale Farmstead copyright Charlie Hedley

People lived in this farmstead between 1686 and 1771, but by the early nineteenth century it was a ruin. Today you can make out the farmhouse, barns, sheep pens and old field boundaries. The name has Norse origins. Gait means ‘goat’ and scale means ‘shieling’ or seasonal house. This suggests there was a settlement here long before the seventeenth century. Managed by the National Trust.

Location: Grid ref NY255022. 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) west of Ambleside, between Wrynose Pass and Cockley Beck. Limited roadside parking 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles) west of the pass, then footpath west for 1 kilometre (0.6 mile).

Featured in our Houses, huts and history leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information, see Gaitscale Farmstead Historic Environment Record (opens in new window)

Blea Tarn

Blea Tarn copyright Val Corbett

You won’t see any archaeological remains here, but the past is written in the landscape. Pollen samples from the bottom of the tarn show that some of the forest disappeared between 3700 and 3100 BC, but grew back 1000 years later. It seems that people were clearing trees to make way for grazing or farming, but were not staying permanently in the same place.

Location: Grid reference NY293044. Near minor road off A593, 8.5 kilometres west of Ambleside. Parking is a short walk from the site.

Featured in our Talking to the past leaflet (PDF)

Eskdale Mill

Eskdale Mill copyright Charlie Hedley

For almost a thousand years, people in this spectacular valley have used water power to grind corn. Eskdale Mill is first mentioned in a document of 1578. In the eighteenth century a second waterwheel was added. Today the wooden machinery is still intact, and it’s the oldest working corn mill in Britain. Managed by the Eskdale Mill and Heritage Trust.

Location: Grid reference NY176011. Boot, 10.5 kilometres (6.5 miles) north east of Ravenglass. Parking at Dalegarth Station.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information, see Eskdale Mill Historic Environment Record (opens in new window)

Hardknott Roman Fort

Hardknott Fort

This far-flung outpost of the Roman Empire guarded the pass on the road from Ravenglass to Ambleside. It was built in the second century during Hadrian's reign and garrisoned by troops from the eastern Adriatic, who policed the area and defended the frontier. Thanks to its remote setting, the ruins are well preserved. Look out for the barracks, commandant's house, parade ground and bath-house. Managed by the National Trust and English Heritage.

Location: Grid reference NY218015. 14.5 kilometres (9 miles) north east of Ravenglass, at west end of Hardknott Pass. Parking is limited with a steep walk to the site. Please note that Hardknott Pass is a challenging drive and may be hazardous in winter.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information, see Hardknott Roman Fort Historic Environment Record (opens in new window)

Burnmoor Stone Circles

Burnmoor Stone Circles copyright Charlie Hedley

These five separate stone circles, perched on high moorland, date from around 2000 BC. They all contain at least one burial, marked by a stone cairn. Were they ritual monuments, meeting places or a mark of ownership? Perhaps all three. Nearby are stone banks and other cairns, which may be more recent. The whole site covers more than 2.5 square kilometres (1 square mile). Managed by the National Trust.

Location: Grid references NY172028, NY172027, NY172023, NY172024, NY173023. Burnmoor, above Boot. Parking at Dalegarth Station. Strenuous walk from village. The nearest and largest circle, Brat’s Hill, is on your right.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information, see Burnmoor Stone Circles Historic Environment Record (opens in new window)

Copt Howe Rock Carvings

Copt Howe rock carvings in the Langdale valley copyright LDNPA

These mysterious carvings are up to 6,000 years old. There are circles, lines, ‘cup’ marks - small hollows in the rock - and other abstract shapes. Some of the ‘cups’ are natural but have been incorporated into the design. Archaeologists think they may have been a way of showing links between people and important places. Managed by the National Trust.

Location: Grid ref NY313058. Beside B5343 in Great Langdale, 250 metres south of Harry Place Farm. Limited parking in Chapel Stile.

Featured in our Stories in stone leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information, see Copt Howe Rock Carvings Historic Environment Record (opens in new window)

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Created with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund