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Lacys Caves, River Eden & Art.

March 17, 2011

When my son was young we used to go to a wonderful place called Nunnery walks situated on the River Eden, it was a fascinating place for a young lad, a real hobbit type place. Red sandstone caves to explore situated on the river. A few years ago they closed it to the public as it was deemed dangerous. That’s when we discovered Lacys caves, the nearest equivalent.

You Are Here - Eden Valley

Starting in Little Salkeld in the Eden Valley the sign to Lacys Caves points down a farm lane, just past the farm turn to your right and it’s a virtually traffic free walk from then on.

Farm at Little Salkeld

It’s a straight metalled road for a bit which under normal circumstances might be boring but the fact it runs alongside the Settle Carlisle Railway line means you never know what will come along. In this case a logging train.

Settle to Carlisle Line

As you walk along look for the wonderful ceramic art done by Michael Eden (appropriate name) and the local schools. The map shows you where you are going.

Armathwaite and area ceramic map

When you reach the River Eden and it’s quite common to see lots of fishermen on the banks at this point.

River Eden

Evidence of the old Long Meg Gypsum mine is visible as you walk along beside the river bank. A disused signal box which controlled the branch line to the Settle and Carlisle railway, various lengths of tracks and pulleys.

Lacys Caves Eden Valley

Soon you will see Lacys caves in the distance. Unfortunately it was a bit grey on the day we were there. When the sky is blue with the red sandstone colours against it, it makes a wonderful sight. Also particularly spectacular when the bluebells are in flower. Lacys caves stem back to the times in the 18th Century when there was a fashion for building romantic grottos and caves in the grounds of grand homes.

Entrance to Lacys Caves

These were made by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Lacy of Salkeld Hall and used for entertaining guests. He even had gardens of rhododendrons planted around the caves.

View up river from Lacys Caves

The caves consist of five sandstone chambers. If you use the camera flash you can see all the visitors initials scratched into the sandstone over the years.

Interior Lacys Caves

Colonel Lacy was a bit of a character. He once tried to blow up Long Meg which is part of the nearby stone circle, with gunpowder. A violent thunderstorm started up and was interpreted by his workers as supernatural intervention, so Meg remained as she is today.

Double Arch Lacys Caves

You can do this walk as a circular route taking in Long Meg stone circle but I returned the way we had come.

River Eden

Another thing to look for as you walk along this route are the little bronze panels by Pip Hall. There are 84 in total situated along 14 walks in the Eden Valley.

Bronze Panel by Pip Hall. Eden Valley

They are based on linocuts, it’s a good idea if you have children with you to take a wax crayon and paper so they can do a rubbing to take home.

Lost shoe

Speaking of taking things home. I wonder if the owner of this lost shoe I found when I got back to the car, got into trouble for not arriving back with it. I hope they didn’t have to hop all the way home!.

From → Eden Valley

  1. Annie Greenwood permalink

    lovely blog chris :))

  2. Most enjoyable – I was born at Great Salkeld !

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