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United Kingdom & Ireland Travel Articles

Travel notes and articles for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. Articles posted must be approved by the Admin before they are published.
England was populated in prehistoric times and many burial tombs, stone circles and hill forts remain. The Roman conquest of Britain started in 43AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius. They built roads, towns and villas in the countryside and the remains of many have been preserved. The medieval history is everywhere, in the castles and historic houses. The industrial revolution also left sites that are interesting to explore today. Designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)...
This is probably one of the nicest and easiest low level walks in the Lake District. There is a good footpath all the way round the lake and it is best walked anticlockwise for the views. The walk is about four and a half miles and takes two and a half to three hours. The path runs just above the level of the lake through a mix of open woodland and open pastureland. There is a short stretch along the road at the far end as well as a short stretch through a tunnel cut through the cliff...
The home of the Pennington Family for over 800 years. Set high above the High above River Esk, it is a prominent land mark, and there are spectacular views across the fells. The land was granted to Alan de Penitone of Pennington in Lancashire in 1208 by King John, although the family may have lived here since 1026. A castle was built here in the late C13th and enlarged in C14th when a pele tower was added. Henry VI sheltered here after the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and is...
The remains of the bath house of Ravenglass Roman fort are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain. Ravenglass is on the coast at the mouth of three rivers and was probably an important port. In the 1st century AD, the Romans built an earth and timber fort here to guard the harbour. In around 130AD this was replaced by a larger, more important fort named Glannaventa. It was a naval base as well as the the main supply centre for other forts across the region as far...
A narrow gauge railway was opened in 1875 to bring iron ore from the mines in Eskdale to the Furness Railway at Ravenglass. The line is now a major tourist attraction, run by an enthusiastic Preservation Society. The seven mile long mile track climbs 210’ from the coast at Ravenglass to the foot of England’s highest mountains in Eskdale. It follows the valleys of the River Mite and Esk to its terminus at Dalegarth. Some History This was the first public narrow gauge railway to be built...
This is one of the most popular short walks in the area, with many well made footpaths through the woods. The walk begins in the National Trust Car Park at Monk Coniston and climbs steadily up through the wild flower meadow to the woodland above. There are views back down to Lake Coniston The path continues through the walled garden of the Monk Coniston estate. The path crosses a road and enters more woodland, with a few stone steps and a wooden bridge and the car park for Tarn Hows...
Coniston Village is set back from the lakes side and surrounded by the peaks of the Old Man and Wetherlam. The houses scramble up the hillside. The flat land around the lake provided good farming and much of the land was owned by the monks of Furness Abbey. As well as farming, iron ore has been smelted here since Medieval times, using charcoal to fuel the furnaces. The discovery of copper in the C16th led to a rapid expansion in population and copper was mined until the early C20th...
A splendid Elizabethan Mansion built around a C14th pele tower. Levens Hall is a splendid Elizabethan house in the valley of the River Kent and surrounded by rich farmland. The original building dates from C13th, when the Redman family built a pele tower here as a defence against the Scots. The estate was sold to Alan Bellingham in 1562. The pele tower was in poor condition and he was responsible for rebuilding and extending the building. Only the base of the pele tower survived. The...
Kendal Mint Cake and the Gateway to the Southern Lakes Kendal’s origins date back to the C8th when the monastic settlement of Kirkland was established near a crossing point on the River Kent. A small settlement grew up round the church. William II established a barony here to secure his Northern territories. A motte and Bailey castle was built at Castle Howe, later to be replaced by the larger stone built KendalCastle. Richard I granted Kendal the right to hold a market in 1189, this...
This is a fascinating place to visit. On the outskirts of Malton, this was originally one of about 1500 Prisoner of War Camp built to accommodate Italian and German POWs between October 1939 and July 1948. The first prisoners were 250 Italians who arrived in Malton by train and were marched to the site. They were initially housed in bell tents and helped to build a more permanent camp which was occupied by Italian and later German prisoners. The completed camp covered 8 acres and had 45...
Forget the Dracula connection (Bram Stoker used the churchyard as the setting for his novel) this is a lovely church that is older than the abbey ruins next to it. Standing high above the town on the East Cliff, it is a well loved local landmark. Most people reach it by climbing the 199 steps, the route taken by coffins for burial in the old graveyard. Whitby was a major Christian centre from the C7th and the famous Synod of Whitby held here in 664 AD confirmed the Roman form of...
The dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey stand proud above the town, silhouetted against the sky. The first monastery was founded by King Oswy of Northumbria. This housed both monks and nuns with Hilda, a Saxon princess, as Abbess. The monastery became on of the most important religious centres and hosted the Synod of Whitby in 664 intended to reconcile differences between the Roman and Celtic branches of Christianity and determine the future direction of the English Church. Nothing remains...
St Andrew’s church is set back off the busy A170 and I’ve often driven past it with hardly a glimpse. It is worth stopping though, as the church contains some of the best Viking Crosses in England. Part of the churchyard is a wild flower area. There has been a church here since Saxon times and the base of the tower is Saxon. On the west wall is a blocked off Saxon doorway with a later oval window at the top. The battlemented top is later and probably late 12th or early C13th...
Hutton le Hole is often described as one of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors National Park with Hutton Beck running down the green, flanked by stone built cottages. It is popular with locals and day trippers in the know, who picnic on the green while children paddle in the stream. Unlike the nearby honey pot of Thornton le Dale, Hutton doesn’t actively promote itself to casual visitors through its website, although there is an information board in the village...
Rievaulx is one of the great ruined Yorkshire abbeys and popular with visitors. Set in the wooded Rye Valley a few miles for Helmsley, many visitors choose to walk rather than drive, as the car park for the abbey isn’t very big. The walk is about 3 miles and follows the start of the Cleveland Way in Helmsley. It is described as easy walking on paths, a few hills with some steps that aren't particularly challenging. That is true for the young and fit, but perceptions off ‘easy’ change with...
Malton is made up of two separate settlements, each with its own unique character The area was settled by the Romans who built an auxiliary fort, Derventio, on the north bank of the river, in the area now known as Orchard Fields. The only remains are a few earthworks. The ‘ton’ ending indicates an Anglo Saxon farm settlement and Domesday Book records a small settlement and church in what is now Old Malton. New Malton, which is usually just called Malton, grew up as a walled settlement...
A tourist honeypot, trading on its Heartbeat and Harry Potter connections Goathland is a small settlement set on the hillside above the wooded valley of the Eller Beck and surrounded by the moors of North Yorkshire. It is a popular stopping off point on the North York Moors Railway. It is very much a tourist honey pot trading on its connections to Heartbeat, the popular TV police drama, where it was used as the setting for Aidensfield. More recently, the station was used in the Harry...
A honey pot village on the edge of the North York Moors Thornton le Dale is an attractive small village on the edge of the North York Moors and is very geared up for day trippers and coach trips. It has a very good website with a map showing the layout of the village, where the shops are, local attractions and ideas of short walks. It really can be described as a ‘honey pot ‘ village and is always busy with its beck, ducks, stone cottages and even a thatched cottage. The area has been...
Stone age man left his mark on Scotland with the mighty hill forts of Tap O’ The North near Rhynie and the Brown and White Caterthuns near Brechin with their impressive ramparts. Craig Phadrig near Inverness is unusual as the walls have been vitrified by tremendous heat. No-one is sure how and why this was done, although there are suggestions it might have been a ceremonial destruction. Now surrounded by commercial forestry, and reached by a way marked walk, there isn’t a lot to see...
There is something special about stone circles and no visit to the Outer Hebrides is complete without visiting Calanais, which has been described as perhaps the most exceptional prehistoric monument in the west of Scotland.. Standing on a bare ridge above Loch Roag, Calanais Stone Circle is a prominent landmark in all directions, with the stones standing silhouetted against the sky line. On a sunny day against a blue sky, they look benign. In the midst of a thunderstorm with lightening...
One of the oldest libraries in Europe Although each of the Oxford Colleges has its own library, the Bodleian Library is still at the heart of Oxford life. Not only is it one of the oldest libraries in Europe, it is one of the few libraries in Britain which receives a copy of every book and magazine published in Britain. It is very much a working library, although it is also popular with film makers. Harry Potter fans will recognise Duke Humphrey’s library and the Divinity school which was...

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