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Monday, 15 November 2010

The Kirkby Stephen Poetry Path

The poetry path in Kirkby Stephen is an innovative and beautiful idea. A circular walk (takes about an hour and a half) with twelve carved poems along the way to commerate the year of a hill famer. 

The poems were written by Meg Peacocke and engraved by lettering artist Pip Hall into blocks of stone which were incorporated into walls and stiles or positioned as milestones at intervals along the route. 

Each one has carved decorative motifs which depict some of the activities associated with each month of the hill farmer's year. Kids can make rubbings of the illustrations so take paper and crayons with you.

A PDF map of the route is available from the the East Cumbria Countryside Project

pictures taken gratefully from and

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Cycle rides with our children - part one: featuring a fairy tale castle, billy goats gruff bridge and a deep dark wood

Now that our kids are both on two wheels we've been looking out for cycle rides we can do together as a family that avoid the trecherous Cumbrian roads while not taxing our 4 year old's little legs too much. Route number one is a winner on these fronts as well as being interesting, fun, and luckily - right on our doorstep.

Welcome to Lowther Castle. How about this for a country pile?

Sadly it's a ruinous pile. The castle built in the 17th century by the first Earl of Lonsdale (though home to the Lowther family in different forms since time immemorial), was abandoned in 1937 after the excesses of the 5th Earl, and the roof removed in 1957. It's fortunes are on the up though and a project is about to start to protect the facade and create a visitor attraction. Details of the exctiing project are available from

Our cycle ride started in Lowther Park on the road to Askham. We parked on a verge oppostite the castle, then headed down over a delightfully noisy bridge across the river Lowther, then through the autumnal woodlands to Lowther caravan park, where we had a sneaky play on the swings. Fantastic!