Looking over Eskdale from Hardknott copyright Steve Reeve

Western Lake District

Duddon Iron Furnace

Duddon Iron Furnace copyright LDNPA

This charcoal-fired iron furnace, built in 1736, is is the oldest surviving site of its kind in northern England. A huge wheel, turned by water from the river, drove the bellows that pumped air into the blast furnace. Recent conservation work has helped save the original buildings, which include the towering furnace stack and storerooms for iron ore and charcoal. Managed by the Lake District National Park Authority.

Location: Grid ref SD197883. 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) north west of Broughton-in- Furness, just off A595. Limited parking.

Featured in our Working the landscape leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Duddon Iron Furnace Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Duddon Furnace Temporary Closure

Please note: There have been several recent movements in the stonework of the furnace buildings.
To ensure public safety we have reluctantly decided to close this site to public access on a temporary basis.
We are receiving specialist advice on the safety of the buildings and will be working to re-open the area as soon as possible. The furnace and buildings can still be viewed from the public bridleway, but please do not enter the fenced area around the buildings, where the gates are now locked.

Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

Swinside Stone Circle

This little-visited stone circle is one of the finest in Britain. It has 55 stones, up to 3 metres (10 feet) high. Like Castlerigg, it dates from the Neolithic period and its entrance seems to line up with the midwinter sunset. Its other name, Sunkenkirk, comes from a legend that people tried to build a church here, but the Devil kept pulling it down.

Location: Grid ref SD171881. 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Broughton in Furness, turn off A595 at Broadgate. Parking at start of track, then 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mile) walk.

Featured in our Stories in stone leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Swinside Stone Circle Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Swinside Stone Circle copyright LDNPA

Barnscar Romano-British Farmstead

Barnscar Romano-British Farmstead artist's impression copyright Christina Unwin

This isolated site was a substantial settlement in Roman times. But the residents would have been British, and were clearly not keen on new-fangled Roman house designs! You can see the remains of at least six round houses, and three large enclosures for livestock. On the nearby slopes are field boundaries and a trackway leading to the farmstead. There are signs, too, of a medieval ‘shieling’ seasonal house - overlying the settlement.

Barnscar Romano-British Farmstead remains copyright Oxford Archaeology North

Location: Grid ref SD132959. On Birkby Fell, 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) south east of Muncaster Castle. Roadside parking at Devoke Water, then follow bridleway for 4 kilometres (2.5 miles).

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

For in depth information see Barnscar Romano-British Farmstead Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Gosforth Cross

Gosforth Cross copyright Charlie Hedley

This unique Viking cross shows a radical approach to religion. It’s carved with a crucifixion scene and images from Norse mythology, linking the two belief systems. Standing 4.5 metres (15 feet) high, it’s the tallest Viking cross in England. Inside the church are other Viking fragments: two more crosses, two tomb covers and a decorated stone. It’s likely that this was an important site for Christianity in the ninth and tenth centuries.

Location: Grid reference NY072035. St Mary’s Church, Gosforth, just off A595.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Gosforth Cross Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster has been owned by the Pennington family since the land was given to their ancestor Alan de Penitone in 1208. It’s grown from a medieval fortified tower-house or ‘pele’ tower, with many additions up to the late nineteenth century. Henry VI sought refuge here during the Wars of the Roses and left a glass drinking-bowl behind, saying if it remained unbroken the Penningtons would thrive. It’s still intact and is known as the ‘Luck of Muncaster’. Entry charge.

Location: Grid reference SD103963.2 kilometres (1.25 miles) east of Ravenglass, off A595.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Muncaster Castle Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

Visit this beautiful castle, home to the World Owl Centre, 800 years of history and the odd ghost.

More on Muncaster Castle and book

Ravenglass Roman Bathhouse

Ravenglass Roman Bathhouse copyright LDNPA

The 1,000-strong garrison at Ravenglass came here to scrub up. It’s one of the best preserved Roman military bathhouses in Britain, with walls standing nearly 4 metres (12 feet) high. Two rooms with doorways and windows survive, but excavations have revealed more rooms, with plumbing for hot and cold baths. Only faint traces remain of the adjacent fort, which was a major Roman naval base and regional supply point for 300 years. Managed by English Heritage.

Location: Grid reference SD088958. 1.2 kilometres (0.25 mile) south east of Ravenglass, off minor road leading to A595.

Disabled access: by car to end of track, view from this side of the fence.

Featured in our From sea to skyline leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Ravenglass Roman Bathhouse Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

Mecklin Park cairnfield

Mecklin Park beads found in 1950s excavations copyright LDNPA

Though there’s not much to see on the ground, this area is rich in burial mounds, standing stones and possible hut circles. Archaeologists excavated some of the cairns in the 1950s and found jet beads, a flint knife, an arrow-head, and pottery typical of the Bronze Age. You can see the beads and other finds in Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle (opens in new window).

Location: Grid ref NY125020. 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) south east of Gosforth via Santon Bridge. Parking at start of footpath.

Featured in our Stories in stone leaflet (PDF)

For in depth information see Mecklin Park cairnfield Historic Environment Record (opens new window)

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Created with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund