Well Cottage: Self Catering Accommodation in Gosforth in the Lake District
Wasdale nearby


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Gosforth is Viking country. Or at least it used to be. The bronze age farmers that were in the valley since time immorial were over-run and scattered by the marauding Vikings who, unlike the Romans had to come from the south, dropped in from the north and claimed the area for themselves. The Viking was a generic term for the peoples of Denmark, Sweden and Norway and contrary to popular belief they did give a lot to Britain, remnants of which can still be seen in Gosforth today.

The village of Gosforth today
The village of Gosforth today

Towards the end of the 8th century, Britain and the Vikings collided and for the best part of 300 years, continued to do so. In periods of peace, the Vikings farmed the land, tamed the marauding forests and carved monuments in honour of their gods and homelands, some of which still stand. Gosforth Cross, or the Wheel head cross, is the tallest Viking cross in England; it has stood since the year 940. For over 1000 years then, this cross has faced down the elements, marauding armies, mourners, fires and over keen and eager sundial makers who used the last 3 as bases for clocks.

Gosforth Viking Cross
The tallest and oldest Viking cross in England

It is testament to the craftsmanship that such a relic still stands and you should go and see it and look back in time. St Mary’s Church, which is home to the cross, has the head to a similar cross that was cut down for a sundial in 1789 as well as other Viking relics including 2 hogback tomb lids inside the church. You are welcome to take a look around or perhaps go to one of the services that are held in the church on a weekly basis.

Gosforth village in Spring
Gosforth in Spring

As a starting point for exploring and discovering the Lake District, there are not many places that match the location of Gosforth for choice and access. It is a small village with the amenities that go with such status. It still holds the romantic charm that coats so much and so many of the small villages that flutter in and out of the majestic countryside of the lakes. Stone, sandy coloured houses lap at the feet of bleached white public houses in a testament to the slow, tranquil and romantic village life Gosforth has to offer.

The Globe
The Globe, one of Gosforth's four pubs

The street layout is based around a cluster of three pubs, a cafe, and village shop in the centre of the village. The road going north heading deep into the lakes of Borrowdale and Keswick (40 mins). The road south heads to the beautiful Eskdale valley and the lunar landscape of Waswater in the mighty Wasdale valley, reached in ten minutes by car. The coast is five minutes west.

Wasdale and Wastwater as viewed from the road
Wasdale and Wastwater as viewed from the road

Upon arriving through the wooded landscape and first setting eyes on Waswater you are confronted by the alien nature of it. The steep scree slopes that end abruptly in the dark deep water (Waswater is the deepest Lake in England) add an almost Jurassic feeling to the valley as it rises up to the summit of Scarfell, the tallest mountain in England.

Things to do

Gosforth and its surrounding area is a treasure trove of walks and footpaths and Bridleways that any devotee of the great outdoors, and even those who are not, should, to use Viking terminology, plunder. Within half an hour of Gosforth you can be geared up and at the foot of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Walks do not come much more challenging than this!

Wastwater and Wasdale
Gable, with Scafell round to the right

Obviously not everybody is so hardy, and closer to Gosforth there are family walks and gentler strolls that take a few hours yet will lead you to secluded spots all of your own. Take the River Bleng walk straight out of the village for example.

The River Bleng walk is 4 miles over easy terrain. It can take as little as 1 to 2 hours but you are entirely welcome to spend the whole morning or afternoon, or even make a day out of it.

Walking through forest by the River Bleng
Walking through forest by the River Bleng

Follow the road out of the village, past the church and follow the meandering road until you reach a footpath sign which points you up a lane. Follow the lane until you reach a small wooded area, which will be given away by the sound of a waterfall.

With the Lion and Lamb pub on your right hand side, head out towards the Church but head right just past the Library and towards the Eskdale Valley and Waswater. Along this road you are faced with all manner of footpaths and Bridleways. The first you encounter will take you on soft tranquil walks in the fields and lanes around Gosforth. The later ones will take you through the woods and on to Waswater itself.

Windhall Footpath

This is a pleasant walk that leads on to the hill over Gosforth with great views of the surrounding hills and mountains and as far as the sea in Whitehaven.

From the St Mary’s Church, head towards the Gosforth Hall Hotel and walk past the right had side, through the car park and over the gate. You will now be faced with what looks like someone’s garden, do not e put off by this and head through them for 25 metres until you reach a gate with a head on.

Windhall Footpath
Windhall Footpath

After the gate, head under a tree with a swing hanging quietly from it, over a stile and past a croquet pitch on your left hand side.

The footpath is then very identifiable and well kept. It is about a mile to Wind Hall.

Bluebells in one of the woods at Gosforth

www.offroadadventures-online.com is a website for keen cyclists and offers detailed maps and time scales for half day, full day and multi-day off road adventures in the Lake District. It offers safety advice, times of year best suited and possible risks involved. It is ideal for anyone searching for routes and do not want to spend days searching them out.

Biking around Gosforth and Wasdale

If you head out of Gosforth and head towards Eskdale and Waswater, you can do a ride that takes you to the lake, arches around the west side of it and then follow the signs back to Gosforth. This is a 10 mile ride that encompasses flat, steep and fast road descents.

Horse Riding on Cold Fell
Horse Riding on Cold Fell

Nearby on Cold Fell is horse riding at Bradley's Centre (01946 861 354) - this is a twenty minute drive from Gosforth. For those wanting to take the outdoor life a step further, Carol Climb takes small groups on canoeing or climbing expeditions.

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Ratty

Muncaster Castle with its Owl Centre and Gardens is nearby and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway is well worth a trip as it winds its seven-mile journey from the coastal village of Ravenglass through beauitful countryside to Eskdale.



Golf Courses in Cumbria provides a list of courses. Within a few miles of the cottage are:



  • Scafell Pike - England's highest mountain
  • Wastwater - England's deepest lake
  • Hundreds of riverside, valley and mountain walks and climbs right from the door
  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Miniature Railway: www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
  • Muncaster Castle, with its azaleas, rhododendrons and Owl Sanctuary:
    www.muncaster.co.uk & www.owls.org
  • Hardknott Roman Fort & Ravenglass Roman Bath House
  • Ravenglass fishing village
  • Fishing on river or stocked pool
  • 4 pubs in Gosforth

For further information about Gosforth and Wasdale, please visit www.gosforthandwasdale.info.

Muncaster Castle, Gardens & Owl Centre

Within one hour's drive are most of the Lake District's attractions, including:
  • Boating on Derwentwater, Coniston and Windermere
  • Windermere, with its Steamboat Museum, marina, water skiing and sailing
  • Horse riding and pony trekking
  • Dozens of historical houses and castles open to the public
  • A boobook owl at Muncaster Owl CentreWordsworth's birthplace and his homes, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount
  • Cumbria's coast with sandy beaches
  • The 'Theatre by the Lakeside' at Keswick: www.theatrebythelake.com
  • The Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre:
  • Shopping at Ambleside and Kendal
  • South Lakeland Wild Animal Park: www.wildanimalpark.co.uk

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Tel: +44 (0) 17687 79445   

Holiday Cottages in the Lake District let by Sally Fielding