If your idea of the perfect Lake District holiday is to have magnificent lake views, walks from your doorstep up onto mountain paths, a village within walking distance and plenty of activities, both on and around the water, then Heathwaite farm may well be for you.
Approached by a steep narrow lane and set around the old farmyard, the farmhouse along with adjoining Heathwaite Cottage and, lying across the farmyard, Bracken and Hay Barn, all are surrounded by meadow and pasture, with footpaths leading to the summit of the Old Man, giving the walker a stunning panoramic view of the Lake District.
Wildlife is abundant, with Buzzards soaring overhead, Green Woodpeckers hammering trees and Swallows performing avian aerobatics in and out of the old barns. Herdwick sheep graze the surrounding fells, and cattle, which, on occasion, are driven into the farmyard for dipping and shearing, a fascinating sight for children and adults alike - keep the camera ready.
A meadow path leads down to the village where there are shops, cafes and inns and, down by the lake, you can hire rowing, sailing and little powered boats.
The house has superb views from its private garden giving a birds eye view of the lake with the Grizedale Forest running down to its shores.
You will probably enter into the kitchen, spacious and well equipped to produce some hearty meals. To rear is a scullery/store room for boots and bits, and off this is a simple downstairs shower and WC. From the kitchen you step into a large sitting room with big sofas, light streaming in from large windows and a roaring log fire. Down the main hall and you come to the dining room with an open fire, grand views, all very perfect for family meals and after dinner conversation long into the evening. Wide stairs take you upstairs to the long hall and four bedrooms. Two are double, spacious and with fine views, two are twin. The bathroom is situated off the hall, down some little steps and has bath, overhead shower, basin and WC. Finally, there is a further bunk bed room downstairs, opposite the dining room. The private garden is spacious, where to the front is a little beck and waterfall where children can splash and paddle and adults can enjoy a glass of wine with a view filled by lake, fell and sky.
Coniston village sits in the very heart of the Lake District at the northwest tip of Coniston Water, sheltered in the lea of the Coniston mountain range. Radiating from the stone bridge, spanning Church Beck, the four main streets are a bustling community with a fine church, shops, a post office, cafes, a local brewery and five good pubs.
This is a village with much to do, the location perfect for outdoor pursuits: climbing, walking, cycling and water sport holidays. On all points of the compass there are trails, leafy forest paths, tracks and lake shores to explore, and you need travel very little to find a new and exciting landscape.
Coniston Water is one the most people friendly lakes, with much of the shore and the whole lake open to the public. Famous as the backdrop and inspiration for Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons and Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell's world speed attempts, its wooded and grassy banks, along with the craggy coves and the deep clear water offer a habitat to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Here pike, trout, perch and ancient char thrive along with swans, heron, ducks, woodpeckers and owls to name a few and recently there has been a re-introduction of red kites. Red squirrels are abundant as are wild red deer and badger, and, perhaps best of all, is the return of otters to Coniston.
At the boating centre you can hire rowing boats, sailing dinghies, kayaks and canoes or my favourite, the small motorboats, perfect for a day out exploring the hidden bays and wooded coves. The Centre also hires mountain bikes and electric bikes to help get you around the lanes and up onto the fells.
Still at the Boating Centre, you can hop aboard one of the Coniston Launches with regular trips down the lake, stopping at various landing points including Brantwood, home of John Ruskin where, along with the Jumping Jenny restaurant, it makes for a good day out discovering the culture and work of the Pre Raphaelites and the Art and Crafts Movement.
For a romantic trip on the water you can board the famous Steam yacht ‘Gondola’. A beautiful rebuilt steam powered craft that will transport you back to an era of greater peace and tranquility. The yacht can be hired for large private parties, or maybe splash out for just the two of you as a grand gesture. Finally, the lake offers more simple pursuits: fishing, swimming or simply finding a nice spot for a picnic and enjoying a magnificent view.
For walking, climbing and mountain biking the choice is huge, with the whole of the mountain range to explore. The Old Man of Coniston stands at 2635 feet and is very popular, offering various well-marked paths to the summit. If you only go part way the view will be spectacular, the pint in the pub on your return all the more delicious.
From the village one of my favourite paths takes you deep into the old Coppermine Valley, with its beck and waterfalls. At the head of the valley you carry on to discover the hidden tarns set on the lower slopes of the mountain.
There are plenty of low level walks and cycle trails. On the east side of Coniston water lies the Grizedale Forest. A massive working woodland, it is crisscrossed with paths and tracks for walking and mountain biking. The Forest is big into arts, commissioning fabulous statues and installations throughout. It is well worth driving via Hawkshead, around to the visitor center for a forest map and information to get the best from your day out.
After all that exploring drink and sustenance will be in order. The village has five pubs and a number of cafes. The Black Bull on the bridge is the oldest and an old favorite, but to ring the changes you can try the Ship Inn, the Sun Hotel, the Crown and the Yewdale or maybe a dainty cocktail at Harrys Bar.
Guest Reviews For The Heathwaite Farm Cottages
Trish and Ruth, (York)
Had a brilliant holiday, loved the cottage, peaceful and comfortable. Absolutely perfect; a total de-stress. Loved the bats and owl.
Tim and Sue, (Warwickshire)
Another awesome week in this gorgeous place. Being woken up by the sheep and birds is fab. See you in September – we love it here.
Jules and Chris, (Skipton)
We’ve had such a lovely time – climbed the old man, boated on the lake. Wish we were staying another week!
Sunrise over Coniston Lake – definetly worth getting up for on a clear day. A mixture of walking and mooching around ambleside. A bottle of Bluebird bitter next to the fire at the cottage at the end of the day. A great week. Thanks
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