Sooo, what a lovely weekend we’ve just had in Jolly, staying around the Newby Bridge area of the Lake District, Cumbria, at the southern tip of Lake Windermere.
You wouldn’t think it was supposed to be Spring, meteorologically speaking anyway. The weather was definitely more wintry. Astronomically, Spring didn’t start until 20th March though, so for the intervening period and to avoid ourselves any further confusion we declared a new season – ‘Sprinter’ 😁.
Anyhoo, for this Sprinter break we enjoyed some changeable but very lovely weather. A little snow but not too much and plenty of bright sunshine in between the snow showers. It was breezy, windier through the nights, but when wrapped up warm during the daytime it made for a perfect couple of days out and about in the picturesque Lake District.
We arrived on Friday afternoon and stayed at the Lakes & Fells Caravan Site which is approximately 1.5 miles outside Newby Bridge. It’s a small Camping and Caravanning Club CS member-only site of 5 pitches and is adults-only. Each pitch is spacious with electric hook-up, drinking water tap and a satellite connection. There’s a motorhome waste water disposal area and a chemical toilet disposal point located a little way out of the pitch area up a grass banking.
The site’s quiet and secluded and it suited us well. Each pitch was occupied during our stay. We didn’t see the owners, probably missed them as we were out and about through the daylight hours. When it came to leaving we rang them and they directed us to a box on the gate of the pitch area, asking us to place our money in a waterproof bag (it rains in the box a little) and post it in the box. It was 24 for two nights which we thought very reasonable.
Soon after arrival and a steaming hot mug of tea, we walked the 1.5 miles or so down into Newby Bridge, turning right out of the site and following the main road down. There is a more scenic, slightly longer walk which can be taken by turning left out of site through Finsthwaite, down by the church, where there’s a sign for Newby Bridge off to the right. Not sure the details of this route but presume it brings you out alongside the river at Newby Bridge.
Anyway, on our route down the main road to Newby Bridge we took care as it was fairly busy with bends and turns and there’s always at least one nutter who sees no reason to expect walkers around a bend … until he/she sees the whites of their eyes 👀 ).
About half a mile down we passed the Quay at Lakeside and the Lakeside Hotel. From the Lakeside Pier you can board steamers and explore the Windermere area further. We’ve used these in the past when we’ve stayed at the Lakeside Hotel before our Jolly days, but we didn’t use them during this stay.
We had an eventful walk that afternoon. About a further half a mile down, as we were bumbling along the road we heard the plaintive cry of a lamb, and on looking over the wall we saw the heartbreaking sight of a little lost lamb by a roadside stream.
Without further ado, we immediately instigated “Operation Jolly Lamb Rescue”, both climbing the wall, crossing the shallow stream, and coaxing the lamb back up through the thicket and eventually over the fencing it must’ve come through. We then carried Lucky (we hope he was) back across the field to his flock and left him with them in the hope that his mother would locate him or at the very least the farmer would know he was there. We’d no idea whose land it was. Fingers crossed all turned out well for the little one 🐑.
Another half a mile later mile we crossed a bridge over the old Lakeside & Haverthwaite Heritage Railway line before arriving in Newby Bridge, a small hamlet which got its name from the 5-arched 17th century stone bridge which spans the River Leven there.
We pottered and called into The Huntsman’s Inn (he wasn’t) at the Newby Bridge Hotel and later had a fish n chip supper at the Swan Hotel before commencing our walk back to camp armed with high viz jackets and torch 🔦.
The wind was quite wild at times during the night but we woke to a beautiful Sprinter’s day. After a toasted tea cake & a mug of tea we made flasks up and headed out for a walk up to High Dam. We turned left out of site towards Finsthwaite, passing the old Stott Park Bobbin Mill. This mill is open as a visitor attraction and on our next stay here we’ll call but unfortunately it was still closed for winter during our visit (it opens at the end of March).
Following the road to Finsthwaite we reached the Finsthwaite High Dam car park and started the climb up from there. The weather really made this walk something special, as it was bitterly cold, but there were periods of bright sunshine in between snow flurries with the flakes dancing around the air and over the water. It made for some impressive photographic scenes.
We passed Low Dam just before reaching High Dam, which used to serve Bobbin Mill in its day, and carried on walking right around the Dam. We took time to sit on a bench half way around to take in the beautiful view and have cup of warming hot coffee. Although this isn’t by any means a long or difficult walk, except maybe the uneven rocky terrain in some areas on the way up, the rewarding views, particularly on a day like we had make it an absolute gem not to be overlooked if in the area.
We came down from our High Dam visit and walked through the small village of Finsthwaite, turning down past St Peter’s Church. Here, there are footpaths either to Lakeside or Newby Bridge. We carried on straight ahead towards Lakeside as we planned on eating there that evening. It was about a mile or so away, across a field and through Great Knott Wood before re-joining the main road just up from the Lakeside Hotel.
There’s a cosy bar at the Lakeside Hotel and we enjoyed a couple of drinks before eating in the John Ruskin Brasserie within the hotel. Not the cheapest of eats, but the food there was absolutely delicious – we can recommend the fillet steak and the sea bass. Yum! 😋.
By the time we left the hotel, the snow had set in again and was beginning to stick as we headed back the half mile to camp. By the time we arrived back at Jolly it was looking like it might get to a decent depth. However, by the time morning arrived and the sunshine came out it started to melt away quickly before we set off for home.
Another top weekend and we’ll probably return to this site to visit the mill, Lakeside Quay and I think there’s a walk up to Finsthwaite Tower from Newby Bridge. Someone had said to us there’s nothing to do in Newby Bridge, but we found plenty!
Suzie & Bri