St John's in the Vale

St John's in the Vale, a very scenic and peaceful valley, lies under the craggy slopes of the Helvellyn Range with splendid views towards Blencathra. It has a small church dating from 1845 in a beautiful setting and is adjacent to the Diocesan Youth Centre.

Although a very tranquil location St John's in the Vale is very accessible as a base for touring the Lake District. It is situated three miles east of the market town of Keswick. The South Lakeland towns of Grasmere, Ambleside and Windermere are also easy to reach by bus or car. The area is served by the 555 bus which runs along the main A591 road.This service runs between Lancaster and Keswick via Kendal, Windermere railway station, Ambleside and Grasmere. For bus timetables click here.

Travelling south from St John's on the Vale via the A591 the huge mass of Helvellyn on the right creates the narrow valley of Thirlmere, occupied by its large reservoir. Over a hundred years ago two small lakes and a small hamlet were drowned by the building of a large dam at the northern end of the valley. This now supplies Manchester with water through nearly one hundred miles of tunnels, pipes and channels.Thirlmere is now increasingly accessible to the public, especially from the quieter minor road on the western side. The severe and dark coniferous forest is being managed to create more mixed woodland. 

There are plenty of opportunities for walking from ascents up Helvellyn or High Rigg to lovely low level and riverside walks. There is a lovely circular walk from nearby Castlerigg Stone Circle to Tewet Tarn with superb fell views. Thirlmere Reservoir has access from the quiet minor road on the western side of the lake where there are car parks, good vantage points and walking trails. United Utilities have established the woodland around Thirlmere as a special red squirrel refuge. This is an ideal place for visitors to see red squirrels and learn about their conservation.

Between St John's and the Vale and Keswick is one of Britain's most impressive prehistoric monuments. Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the earliest stone circles to be found in Britain and well worth a visit during your stay.

150 metres from Castlerigg Stone Circle is Keswick Climbing Wall and Outdoor Adventure Centre who provide a wide range of outdoor activities as well as indoor climbing for groups, families and individuals aswell as Wild Play Woodland Adventures, a series of mini activities for younger members of the family.

Blencathra panorama