Row of cottages in Askham copyright Mr Hills

Askham Conservation Area

Why is Askham special?

This historic village with medieval origins has many appealing characteristics such as: 

  • close to a 14th century defensive pele tower that is now incorporated into Askham Hall.
  • Rural setting between Askham Fell and the River Lowther on the western side of the Lowther Valley, surrounded by open fields to the north and south.
  • Rising topography as the main village thoroughfare meanders uphill between wide grassy greens from the valley bottom to the edge of the fell.
  • Series of informal greens rising in stages from the valley bottom to the moor.
  • Distinctive linear settlement pattern with near-continuous frontages of 17th, 18th and 19th century farmhouses, barns and cottages facing each other across the greens.
  • Askham Hall (grade I listed) and its grounds which are listed in the English Heritage ‘Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest’.
  • St Peter’s Church was designed by Sir Robert Smirke (1781-1867) who also designed nearby Lowther Castle and went on to design the British Museum.
  • Majority of buildings have architectural and historic interest. The 44 listed buildings and many other unlisted historic buildings make a positive contribution to the area’s special character and appearance.
  • The inter-relationship of the dwellings, farms and barns along the street frontages which point to the village’s agricultural heritage.
  • Well-preserved examples of local Cumbrian stone-built vernacular architecture, both domestic (usually rendered) and agricultural (usually stonework exposed).
  • Prevalent use of local limestone and red sandstone as a walling material, under greenslate roofs, reflecting the underlying geology of the area.
  • The River Lowther, Askham Mill and riverside trees.
  • Views up, down and across the greens, sometimes framed by mature trees - one of the special charms of the village and an important element in the townscape.
  • Views from the upper part of the village to Lowther Castle and beyond.
  • Individual trees and small clumps of trees on the village green that enhance the setting of historic buildings and soften the streetscene.
  • The woods and the tranquil sylvan atmosphere around St Peter’s Church and beside the River Lowther.
  • Roadside grass verges without kerbstones.
  • Limestone walls with a variety of stone copings which are the prevalent boundary treatment both for field boundaries and garden borders, adding to the village’s distinctive stone-built character.
  • Small items that add to Askham’s local identity and recognisable sense of place, for example telephone kiosk, cobbled street surfaces and vernacular building details such as datestones and 'throughstones'.
  • Strong sense of tranquillity and quiet.

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