Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

Jolly recently took us to Woodclose Park approx. half a mile outside the pretty, historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, on the border between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Woodclose Park is beautifully laid out and immaculately maintained with excellent facilities.  We stayed in the circular touring section on pitch number 2.  The pitches were well spaced and fully serviced with water, electric, grey waste drain & tv hook-up points.

It was a busy weekend there but the atmosphere remained chilled and very peaceful.  All of the staff were friendly, especially Rick who we spoke to a couple of times and who gave us some recommendations and info about the area.

Kirkby Lonsdale is such a lovely town with an array of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.  There’s a Market day on Thursdays and a Farmers Market on the first Thursday of the month.  They also have a Victorian Street Fair during the first week in September.

In 2013, the town was used as one of the filming locations for the BBC drama ‘Jamaica Inn‘ We didn’t watch the drama but have googled it since to see the transformation of the town centre that was carried out.

The best walk from site into town takes you over the ancient 3-arched Devil’s Bridge, which crosses the River Lune and dates back to the 12th/13th Century.  It’s a popular site for tourists and has a butty/brew van and an ice-cream van parked up there.  It’s a favourite haunt for motorcyclists and we also noticed that several motorhomes stayed overnight in a parking lay-by nearby.

After the bridge, turn right and follow the path along the riverbank until you reach the 86 ‘Radical Steps’.  These steps take you up into St Mary’s churchyard and some gates lead out into the town centre.

According to a sign we read along the walk, the ‘Radical Steps’ came about in 1820 when Dr Francis Pearson, a man who held very strong Liberal views, obtained an order to divert a public footpath that ran through his garden at Abbots Brow.  Many locals were opposed to this and as a result the flight of steps that replaced the footpath became known as the ‘Radical Steps’ in reference to Dr Pearson’s radical politics.

After climbing to the top of the steps you reach St Mary’s Churchyard.  If you turn right at the top and walk just a little further along you come to ‘Ruskin’s View’.  It’s the point from which the famous artist JMW Turner painted the River Lune in 1822.  His painting moved the poet John Ruskin to write:

‘I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine’

Ruskin was so impressed with the painting that he described the panorama as ‘one of the loveliest views in England, therefore in the world’. The painting became known as ‘Ruskin’s View’.

The story of Ruskin’s View

The Norman St Mary’s Church and attractive churchyard is lovely to wander through.  We also went into the Church to look around and to light candles before walking out of the churchyard down an alleyway past the Sun Inn (well, we say ‘past’, we never pass a pub 😉).

We walked along Salt Pie Lane (formerly Cattle Market Yard).  This is where cattle used to be sold in the town, which led to a local lady deciding to make and sell hot salted mutton pies to the traders.  This salty pies created quite a thirst in the traders who would then visit the Green Dragon pub (now the Snooty Fox) to quench their thirst.  Apparently, the landlord of the pub was a relation of the pie-lady – great business idea!

There’s no shortage of great drinking holes.  To name a few we called into:- The Royal Hotel (serving Bowland Brewery ales), The Red Dragon Inn, The Sun Inn, The Kings Arms (live music), and The Orange Tree.

Bowland Brewery ales at The Royal Hotel

Be sure to call into the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery in the centre which also serves some great local ales.

We enjoyed food at both The Red Dragon Inn and The Sun Inn during our stay.  We only ate from the bar menu at the Sun Inn but we’ll make sure we book in for an evening meal next time.  It’s a very popular place and they were having to turn people away as they were fully booked.   We also spent a few hours listening to some live music in the Kings Arms across the road from the Sun.  Great atmosphere!

It’s a pleasant stroll back to site from town and as we walked back over the bridge one night, we saw a humongous salmon jump twice down below.  We decided we’ll definitely have to buy a visitor’s permit and fish there some time!

The sun decided to appear for our journey home

Until next time …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

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