Hike & Bike with Lake District Hotels; Long Meg, her sisters and Captain Lacy – a walk through the valley of Eden
Since we have our own walking book (Hike & Bike with Lake District Hotels – available to buy in each of our hotels or online here) we thought we’d put it to some use and go exploring last weekend. With myself, husband, 10 month old baby, off-road buggy and two dogs packed into the car we set off for Little Salkeld, roughly 7 miles north east of Penrith on the search of a stone circle and some caves.
We were not disappointed. The walk, which can be found on page 52 of the book, is about 5.5 miles long and meanders down quiet roads, country lanes, fields, woodland paths and riverside trails. There were no big hills to negotiate so it felt quite a gentle walk except that we wouldn’t recommend doing the walk with a buggy. Quite a few of the lanes become very narrow or so overgrown that the buggy didn’t actually fit down them without some expletives from husband. However without buggy they would be perfectly pleasant and stress-free to walk down.
Luckily the stress of having a gigantic off-road buggy to negotiate was outweighed by the beautiful views over the Eden Valley and amazing finds such as Long Meg and her sisters which make up the countries second biggest stone circle. Further on the walk, after making friends with some of the locals and coming across a 14th century church we came to the River Eden, which is home to an abundance of wildlife. We passed some other walkers who mentioned sightings of otters, but they had quickly scarpered on sight of our two bounding Labradors.
Coming across Captain Lacy’s caves was a real treat and we felt like children exploring the different chambers connected by corridors which opened out on to drops down to the river. But take care as you could fall here and cause yourself some damage!
Nearing the end of the walk we passed some derelict buildings and if you look to your right on the ground was an old, mostly overgrown mosaic map showing the river Eden and its surrounding villages.
We finished the walk where we started, at the Little Salkeld Watermill, a working mill that produces a range of stone-ground organic flours. We treated ourselves to goulash and soup with a selection of homemade breads, a great way to end a walk. Next time we’ll be leaving space for those delicious cakes they had on display!
10 things you will (almost) definitely see on this walk
- The 2nd biggest stone circle in the country
- Church dating from the 14th Century
- Captain Lacy’s caves – a maze of chambers to explore
- The river Eden – a beautiful north-flowing river
- Cows and sheep in abundance
- Enchanting woodland walks
- Boardwalks alongside the river and through the woodland
- Seasonal berries, perfect picking time in autumn
- Views over Eden valley
- A working water mill and café to finish