Applethwaite and Millbeck
The villages of Applethwaite and Millbeck nestle at the foot of the south facing slope of Skiddaw - which at over 3000ft is one of the highest mountains in the Lake District. They are about 1 and 2 miles respectively from Keswick. They are part of Underskiddaw Parish in an area of magnificent scenery.
In the late eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century the main industry of the Parish next to farming was the production of woollen goods. Both Applethwaite and Millbeck still have the remains of old corn mills and later each had a flourishing woollen mill. The mill in Applethwaite was used in particular for the manufacture of blankets. The mills were water-powered but eventually closed as the steam powered mills of Yorkshire took over the business. Applethwaite Ghyll was the site of slate quarrying. Wordsworth owned a property in Applethwaite.
Millbeck Hall is a very old farmstead built around a Peel Tower.
Apart from the building of some newer houses and the changes to farming practices in recent times the parish looks very much the same today as it did in the nineteenth century and are quiet and unspoilt. Road signs in the village warn drivers to watch out for red squirrels which can still be seen on the wooded slopes of the fell. The parish is also close to the osprey nesting site near Bassenthwaite Lake.
The villages are just a few minutes drive from Keswick. Applethwaite and Millbeck (A591 not the villages) are served by the X4 bus which runs between Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington and intermediate villages. Click here for bus timetables.
Most walkers will know Applethwaite as the starting point for the walk up Skiddaw. Wainwright says “ if I were asked by a stranger to the district to recommend a single climb that would give him a superb panorama I would send him up Skiddaw” and he describes the view from Skiddaw Little Man reached en route to Skiddaw as “the most beautiful and comprehensive view of the Lake District”. There are a number of other fell walks that can be done directly from the two villages – Dodd, Lonscale fell and Latrigg. In addition there are many footpaths and lower level walks. Nearby Dodd Wood, on the slopes of Skiddaw, offers a variety of way marked trails and a viewing platform for the Osprey. Excellent views reward those who make it to Dodd Summit. The walk along the quiet “terrace road” linking the Applethwaite and Millbeck affords a glorious view across the grey slated buildings of Keswick right down to the head of Derwentwater encircled by the Borrowdale fells together with the distant Helvellyn range and the crest of Grizedale Pike and the north western fells.
Applethwaite and Millbeck offers a peaceful setting away from the hustle and bustle of Keswick but with all the facilities of the town on hand.