Ireby and Caldbeck
Once a thriving market town, with the market cross believed to date back to 1200, Ireby is a peaceful unspoilt village situated in the fells to the north of Keswick in the area known as 'Back o' Skidda'. It has one pub and a village school. A couple of miles from Ireby lies Overwater, a small but picturesque tarn. Nearby Dodd Wood offers a network of walking trails aswell as viewpoints to watch the famous Bassenthwaite Ospreys. This area is the ideal place for a relaxing holiday but with the amenities of Keswick only a short drive away.
Caldbeck is a picturesque traditional fell side village ideally situated for touring the Northern Lakes, Scottish Borders and Hadrian's Wall being situated 16 miles from Keswick and 13 miles from Carlisle. The village is named after the river on which it stands. The river provided water power for the industrial development of the 17th and 18thC - corn mills, woollen mills, bobbin mills, a paper mill and a brewery. Mineral mining was also important, the most significant being lead and copper.
Caldbeck has a selection of gift and specialist shops, ideal for browsing, around the village. There are also a good variety of pubs, restaurants and tearooms in Caldbeck. Priests Mill, an old water mill on the River Caldew was built by the Rector of the Church in 1702 for grinding corn. Two hundred years later it was used as a sawmill and joiners workshop. Today it houses a number of retail units and workshops.
In the heart of the village there is an attractive duck pond, an ideal spot to sit and rest. It is known locally as 'claydubs' which reflects its history as a claypit for a brick and tile works in the 19thC. The present church of St Kentigern dates back to the 12thC and is believed to occupy a site where people have worshipped since Kentigern's time. Youwill find here the graves of Mary Harrison, the Beauty of Buttermere, and John Peel, the famuos huntsman.
The hills behind Skiddaw and Blencathra are excellent walking country. These gently undulating lowland fells are amongst the quietest and most unspoilt in the Lake District offering magnificent views of the surrounding fells. The peaks of Great Calva and Knott look down on the village. From Caldbeck there is a short walk from the village to the old bobbin mill and the Howk limestone gorge. Click here for the route.