Myths, Legends and the landscape of the Eden Valley
Explore some the Eden Valley’s hidden gems
The Eden Valley connects the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District Fells and the North Pennines. If avoiding the crowds and getting off the beaten track appeals, then the Eden Valley has stunning scenery and historical places of interest to delight you.
The region offers a mix of lush green countryside, traditional market towns and pretty villages, some dating back to Viking, Roman and Saxon times. As well as the magnificent walking country, you’ll find plenty of myths and legends to uncover.
Pendragon Castle and the Arthurian Legend
This is the castle that was reputedly built by Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. According to the legend, Uther Pendragon and a hundred of his men were killed here when Saxon invaders poisoned the drinking water in the well. It’s a small castle ruin, but its part in the Arthurian legend attracts historians and the curious all year round. The castle is a short distance away from Appleby Castle and it would be pretty easy to visit both on the same day.
By contrast, Appleby Castle operates as a hotel and restaurant and has been beautifully restored. There are some public areas to visit that allow you to see how it was used and lived in through the centuries and of course, a café to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea.
Haweswater and the ancient Kings of Mardale
Haweswater is a reservoir built in the valley of Mardale in the 1930s to provide water for Manchester. In creating the reservoir, the ancient settlement of Mardale was flooded -church, school, farms and houses disappeared underwater. The Kings of Mardale were an ancient royal family who fled to Mardale in 1208 after being involved in a conspiracy against King John, the brother of Richard the Lionheart. In very dry summers the ruins of Mardale can be seen again with the village’s stone walls appearing from the water.
Haweswater is a beautiful place for a peaceful walk (but get there early, parking is limited). The RSPB has a bird hide there where you can watch the wildlife. Until recently Haweswater was the nesting place of England’s last remaining family of Golden Eagles. Even though the Eagles have gone, you can still see peregrines, pied flycatchers, rutting red deer, buzzards and red squirrels.
The White Monks of Shap Abbey
Shap Abbey was founded in the 12th century. The founders were known locally as the White Monks because of their light-coloured habits. At the time, the White Monks held strict control over the local population who lived in fear of being excommunicated if they fell out of favour. Eventually, the White Monks fell out of favour during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and the abbey gradually fell into ruin.
You can still visit the Abbey which still has an impressive tower that can be explored. It’s free to visit and open all year round.
Walk the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the Pennines
High Cup is a spectacular walk in a gigantic u-shaped glaciated valley on the western side of the North Pennines. It’s a challenge, but ultimately worth every minute. It has been featured several times on TV recently. Julia Bradbury has listed it as one of her ‘Best Walks with a View’, and Tony Robinson (of Blackadder fame) did the walk as part of his Coast to Coast journey.
Visit The Malabar
We hope this selection gives you some inspiration when planning your trip to the Eden Valley. Naturally, we’d be delighted to welcome you to the Malabar which is the perfect location for your holiday.