Cumbria Stories and Tips

Calderbridge, village of surprises

Path along the stream Photo, Cumbria, England

I stayed at the Stanley Arms only because it was cheap and near my work. I'd not been there before but was pleasantly surprised when I got there. Despite being only a mile as the crow flies from the biggest and most infamous nuclear reprocessing plant in the UK, it carries itself off as a quiet little village in the middle of nowhere quite well. There's a nice little stream running through the middle of the village, over which is an old stone bridge from which I presume the village takes its name.

Anyway, after I'd finished my first day's work, I checked into the Stanley Arms, got changed, and since it was a nice night, decided to wander off and take some photos. This didn't take long because the village is small. There's the stream and a nice old brownstone church in the centre, flanked by two presumably competing pubs, the Stanley Arms and the Golden Fleece. After 20 minutes, I was back in the Stanley Arms, wondering if it was too early to start drinking - the kitchen wouldn't open for another half-hour, and I feared if the beer was good and the telly wasn't that 5:30pm would be dangerously early to start. That said, I was about to when the landlord asked me if I'd walked along the footpath next to the stream, to the rear of the Stanley Arms. I said I hadn't, so he suggested that I could kill a very pleasant hour that way and take some photos of the ruined Calder Abbey about half a mile along the path. That sounded good, so I located the start of the path round the back of the old church and followed a lovely, quiet, and spooky path along the stream. I didn't see anybody else on this walk.

The walk started gently enough-- stream, trees, birds, etc.--but after about half a mile came the first surprise. I did not see the Abbey, as promised, but instead a dilapidated old mansion house or stately home or something, with an overgrown front garden and dirty, cracked old windows. I took a couple of photos, peeping nervously through the trees, then walked on, looking for the Abbey. The Abbey, as it turned out, was in the back garden of this mansion, but I only found this out after surprise #2--washing on the line round the side of the house! That I did not expect. I took more photos (quietly) of the Abbey to the rear and the odd little chapel thing across the field (obviously something the monks used for something or other once upon a time). I then made a brisk return to the Stanley Arms before it started getting dark.

When I got back, I asked about the people who lived there. Predictably, the story began, "Funny you should ask that. People there keep themselves to themselves. Strange family - don't come down to the village much... "

Then they told me the house was supposed to be haunted--durr.

I found a website that provides a bit of historical background to the abbey here.

Been to this destination?

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