Ex Olympic skier Lady Lewthwaite: My Cumbria

This region is so different from the rest of the Lake District. you never need to go far to find places of interest, wonderful scenery and remote villages.

The sea is only five miles away and there is great historical interest attached to the Duddon Estuary, being an old mining area.

Tourists have yet to really discover the region, unlike Windermere, Bowness or Keswick. 

Lady Lewthwaite

Home: Lady Lewthwaite has lived in Cumbria for many years

I love going for a day's ride on one of the 24 Cumbrian heavy horses which are stabled one mile from my home at Broadgate. (01229 777764 www.cumbrianheavyhorses.com)

There are several routes to choose from. I like the one that goes over the hill and down to the estuary along the banks to Millom and out to the old pier, where the ships used to come in.

I also love to ride to Haverigg and through the sand dunes on the beach to Silecroft, then back through farm land past the wonderfully named Po House.

There are so many walks just out of the gate and up the lane. I love the one on to the fell to Swinside stone circle, one of the three most important in Cumbria. Fifty-five of the original 60 stones remain, 32 still standing.

A favourite lunch spot is The Blacksmith's Arms, which dates back to 1577 and was
originally a farmhouse. It is in Broughton Mills, a small hamlet that sits by the Dunnerdales Fells and the Lickle River. The pub is the only one in the Lake District listed in the national inventory of historic pubs.

Just 20 minutes over the fell from Broadgate you arrive at Muncaster Castle, home to the Pennington family for eight centuries. The 70-acre gardens are world renowned for their rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas; and the World Owl Centre cares for the finest and largest owl collection in the world. Lunch here at the Stable cafe; is a real treat.

All children and grown-ups love the 'La'al' Ratty steam railway, from Ravenglass up to Eskdale, Lakeland's longest and most scenic heritage rail. The engines are open and closed carriages are all miniature: a trip here is the highlight of my grandchildren's visits.

My late husband and I used to love to go to the top of Black Combe for a romantic stroll, walking from Whicham Church to the top of the Combe, from where we can see Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumberland and the Old Westmoreland. 

Black Combe

What a view: From the top of Black Combe you can see Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumberland and Old Westmoreland

Whenever we had lunch parties our guests would walk to the top, and then on the way down strip off and swim in the great pool.

Whatever the weather, a walk starting in the main square of Broughton in Furness and back for lunch at the 300-year-old Old kings Head is wonderful.

There used to be a railway track from Foxfield to Coniston, carrying slate quarried in the fells, but this was closed in the late 1960s and now there is an easy circular walk of three miles from Broughton along the railway track, a little road and through fields and pastures.

The Duddon Valley nearby is spectacular particularly in spring - Wordsworth obviously thought so, as it inspired his poem 'The Daffodils'. The ruin of Firth Hall and the scenic bridge at Rowfold are also special places to visit.

The Duddon ironworks is one of the most impressive charcoal-fired blast furnaces in England, and the bird-watching sanctuary at Hodbarrow in Millom is a well-kept secret.

The RAF Museum in Haverigg, the Millom Folk Museum and the Sellafield Visitor Centre are all wonderful spots to explore on rainy days. And foodies should drop in on Melville Tyson in Broughton for some home-made preserves, chutneys and award-winning sausages, bacon and black pudding - perfect holiday souvenirs.

Lady Lewthwaite has recently opened her beautiful country house in Millom, Cumbria as a B&B. For more information visit www.broadgate-house.co.uk (01229 716295).

For hundreds of money-saving offers and ideas on short breaks and day trips, go to www.enjoyengland.com

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