The Howgills are much less well known than many of the Cumbrian fells, and yet they’re more accessible than most, being close to the M6 motorway and the towns of Sedbergh and Kendal. Their western slopes are right alongside the motorway as it passes through the Lune Gorge between Junctions 37 and 38.

Howgills Cumbria

The Howgills from the west, viewed across the M6 motorway through the Lune Gorge

Getting to the Howgills

I suppose that most people coming up from other parts of England to Cumbria for an holiday drive up the M6 and either leave at Junction 36 near Kendal for the southern and central lakes such as Windermere and Grasmere or continue a little further up to J40 at Penrith en route to Ullswater, Derwentwater or the Western Lakes. Leaving at J37 and heading east one quickly comes to the small town of Sedbergh (officially a “book town”) and around it is a world of rural quiet very different from the bustling centres of the Lakeland tourist honeypots.

From Sedbergh head out on the road toward Kirkby Stephen and the Eden Valley. As you go north up the valley of the River Rawthey the eastern slopes of the Howgills are on the left.

Cautley Spout Howgills Cumbria

Looking toward Cautley Spout from Cautley in August

The Howgills in Winter

Below is a 2015 winter scene with Cautley Spout, a long cascade of water crashing down the fellside – in fact England’s longest.

Cautley Spout and the Howgills in Snow

The Howgills and Cautley Spout – a Winter scene

The Howgills from the North

I was looking just now to see whether I’d ever written anything here about the Howgills in the past. The answer is almost nothing. In June 2012 I posted a few photographs of the Upper Lune Valley and one of them shows the Howgills from the north as a range of hills against the distant skyline. I promised then to get some better shots. It’s past time I kept my promise so here’s at least a provisional offering, a snowy scene from this past week.

Howgills Ravenstonedale Cumbria Winter

The Howgills from the North (near Ravenstonedale) in Winter

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In my last post here I announced the planned resurrection of the “Around-England” sites after a year’s unavoidable hiatus. Today, then, we start an “East Lancashire season” by referring briefly to a few of the area’s many interesting places in which a visitor (or for that matter a local) can spend enjoyable hours.

“East Lancashire”. This area, from Blackburn, Darwen and the Rosssendale Valley to Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Colne used to be a textile production powerhouse. There were pits producing coal for the mills, tall smoking mill chimneys, and weavers’ shuttles by the tens of thousands clattering away from morning to night. At the same time on the outskirts of the towns and up into the hills and along the river valleys was splendid scenery, and dotted here and there historic country houses, some open to the public.

East Lancashire Industrial Heritage

Today the mill chimneys have gone but newer industries have emerged, especially in the area of aerospace engineering. There are also some excellent industrial museums determined not to lose the memory of the town’s past industrial greatness.

The Lancashire textile industry differed considerably from town to town. In particular there was a marked distinction between a spinning town and a weaving town. At Helmshore Mills they spun cotton into thread that then was woven in weaving mills such as Queens Mill, Burnley.

Towneley Hall - Burnley - East Lancashire

Towneley Hall, Burnley, East Lancashire – April 2012

Two East Lancashire Country Houses

I’ve mentioned Towneley Hall several times in the past and am currently planning a further much longer article with additional photographs. Gawthorpe Hall, now in the care of the National Trust, also provides a most interesting half-day visit especially if you’re interested in textile arts.

These two houses, on opposite sides of Burnley, are full of history relating not only to the immediate area but also on a national scale.

Ancient History – Romans in Lancashire

Go a few miles out of the industrial towns to the banks of the River Ribble and you reach a centre of ancient Roman history. There was a fort at Ribchester which is now remembered in a museum of Roman times.

… and there’s more …

There’s plenty to keep you interestingly occupied in East Lancashire. The places listed above are given only for starters. Outdoors there’s good walking as well as picnic spots around the river valleys and up into the hills. You can wander round historic abbey ruins and sit in the sun at Whalley and Sawley. Wycollar Country Park includes the quaint old village, beautiful on a sunny day. Indoors there are excellent museums in Accrington and Blackburn, there’s the Pendle Heritage visitor centre at Barrowford, and the castle at Clitheroe. We’ll look in greater detail at more of these over coming weeks.

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Change Comes to Around-England

by David Murray on 15 November 2014

in Books, General admin

After 6½ years here online Around-England is to become the central hub of a small galaxy of websites, both existing and new. Following something of a hiatus from mid-2013 until recently (due to health issues) I am now in the process of reviving my entire network of North of England websites. All are being relaunched under the Around-England banner and eventually sites relating to areas further south will be added.

The first stage of this revival concerns the bookselling and associated sites. Today I want to mention just two of these. In the near future I’ll say more about several of the others, including Lake District Gifts which, although it contains some excellent gift suggestions, needs bringing up to date..

The Lake District in Books

This is not strictly “new” as I’ve had a successful site with that name since mid-2011. However, it is now completely rebuilt using more advanced software and is relaunched with a changed (although very similar) Web address: The website at the old address will continue to function but will not be updated.

All the book categories of the old site are covered by the new one, from Lakeland landscape, travel guides and maps to transport and the historic industries of the Lake District. Walking books include not only Alfred Wainwright’s guides and the more recent Fellranger walking guides from Mark Richards but also a number of titles focused on the needs of particular groups of people such as dog walkers and families with children. And there’s much more, including this coming year’s Lake District calendars for 2015.

Britain through Books

This is a completely new venture, expanding beyond the Lake District and Northern England. Several of my travel sites (also part of the “revival project”) include either all of England or of Britain as a whole. These now will now be able to link to a parallel bookselling site.

I’m starting with the sections on the North and working down through England. There is already a fair number of titles about Wales, and Scotland will follow shortly. Take a look at what’s there already. There are also approaching two hundred 2015 calendars.

Lake District Accommodation

My Lake District hotel and holiday cottage sites are due for renovation during December. Meanwhile the hotel booking form at the top of the righthand column here provides for hotel reservations not only in England but worldwide, or click on the Sykes block.

Finally, although this site does not need a rebuild it does need a more regular flow of new content. Expect to see much about Lancashire over coming weeks.

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Kirkby Stephen is a village in the Eden Valley, Cumbria, popular with walkers on the surrounding fells and on the route of the Coast to Coast walk from St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay devised by Alfred Wainwright in the early 1970s. It is now also home to the Around-England web sites. After several years in Appleby we have moved further upstream in the Eden Valley.

Kirkby Stephen - glimpse of parish church

The Eden is much younger here than at Appleby, a beautiful smaller stream that has just emerged from Mallerstang, passing Stenkrith Bridge as it approaches Kirkby. Close to the town centre is Frank’s Bridge. (As far as I’ve been able to discover no-one seems quite sure who Frank was). Here’s the river just a short way above Frank’s Bridge.

River Eden near Frank's Bridge Kirkby Stephen

It’s a great privilege to live anywhere in the Eden Valley, and now I can add the benefit of this view from my desk over the houses to Hartley Fell.

Kirkby Stephen

Turning slightly to the right and looking out of another pane of the window I can look over the rooftops and between the chimneys to Nine Standards Rigg.

Hartley Fell from Kirkby Stephen

You can’t see the Nine Standards? Well no, they’re too small, so here’s a blow-up of the same photo. Whether or not I actually see them from my desk depends on the light at the time.

Nine Standards Rigg from my desk in Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen is a marvellous place from which to walk into the surrounding countryside. There’s a great variety available and Ron Scholes has recently issued an update of his popular guide, Walking in Eden.

For more on the Eden Valley see my site It has been growing slowly since I started to build it around eighteen months ago and has reached a point where I’m now starting to acknowledge its existence.

I plan now to recommence regular postings on this site and on the other “Around-England” sites including Eden Valley Cumbria and also a newsy site about the North of England as a whole, Across The North. For more about the family of sites and plans for the future click here.

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Wharfedale New Year

August 8, 2014

Although published here in August this item was mostly written back in January. As it was sitting here almost finished I decided to publish it now to revive the Around England site in spite of the long delay. Our New Year outing into Wharfedale actually started in Airedale. The previous day had been wet (an […]

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A Working Steam Driven Cotton Mill – History Alive

July 9, 2013

Personal Note:Regular visitors will have noticed the lack of new articles recently. Shortly after this one was published I suffered the first of a series of mini-strokes. Although there is no permanent brain damage it became very apparent that I was seriously overworking. I’m planning to keep “Around-England” and other sites going but there will […]

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National Park Extensions? Please, Not Yet!

June 4, 2013

Hearings on the proposed extensions of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks start today. I wrote most of the following on my personal Facebook account earlier this morning and then thought I should put it here too, even though I’m aware that it might well lead to losing some friends. I love both […]

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Terrible Things Happen In Beautiful Places

May 25, 2013

Starting a short walk by Goldrill Beck and Brothers’ Water this afternoon I was stopped in my tracks by this poster. What was such a gruesome image doing in such a beautiful place? The National Trust appears to have concluded that shock tactics are necessary. Far too many sheep and lambs are attacked by dogs […]

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Hellgill Force near the source of the Eden

May 14, 2013

Today I did another of my photo-drive-walks, returning to Mallerstang for the second week in succession. Last week I did a circular walk between Nateby and Pendragon Castle, taking in Lammerside Castle, so today after a few shots of Pendragon Castle (over the wall; it’s now “closed to public access for building repairs”) I started […]

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Beautiful Mallerstang, and Disgusting Litter Louts

May 8, 2013

Yesterday was a beautiful early Spring day in Mallerstang. Yes, I know that in many parts of the country Spring is already well and truly sprung but up here in the North, in a valley whose lowest points are around 1000 feet above sea level, Spring is still on its way in. The photo here […]

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