Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023

Our holiday base was at Lowfield House in Little Langdale. Arguably, this spot is the heart of the Lake District and is the starting point for several walks. Slater’s bridge and Cathedral Cave are both accessible in a short 45 minute walk from Lowfield House. Setting off from the house we walked past the Three Shires Pub, down a country lane and then over the fields. We quickly reached Slater’s bridge which crosses over the river Brathay. Here the river is more peaceful than Colwith Force further downstream. This bridge is made entirely of slate and dates back to the 17th Century. With the back drop of the valley and the fells on either side, this packhorse bridge was built by miners to transport materials from the nearby mines. Several pictures were taken around the bridge before we headed off to the mines.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Slater’s bridge showing the walker’s path up to Little Langdale.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Another view of this wonderful packhorse bridge.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
A picture apportunity on the bridge.

We approached the slate queries where Cathedral Cave is located and missed the accessible entrance. Instead we moved up to the higher ground finding the entrance to the top gallery that looks down on the large chamber. My daughters were not impressed with my photographer’s instinct to get the best view possible. I was not allowed near the edge which was a sheer drop down into the cave. However, I still managed some good pictures of the cave from the rock gallery.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Entering into the upper part of the cave.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Jim shines a light in the top gallery with the larger cave behind.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Rob and Natasha with the beautiful view behind them.

We explored outside looking for the entrance to the chamber. There appeared to be a precarious entrance along the rim of the quarry but after watching some walkers finding the descent difficult in the damp conditions we decided not to follow. I was a little despondent as I would have loved to have found the cave. As Sian and I walked back in front of the others, we found the entrance to the Cave. I should correct myself and say that Sian found the entrance. The group was excited as we entered into the chamber.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
People passing through the cave provide an estimation of scale.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
The central cylinder of slate with other rock deposits reflected in the water within the cave.

I was so pleased to visit the Cathedral Cave. The impressive chamber is very atmospheric with the open window in the wall allowing light into the cave. There is a large slate cylinder that appears to be supporting the ceiling. The pool of water to the back of the cave provides many reflections allowing one to appreciate the grand space of the cavern. Needless to say, I, like many photographers who visit this place, just wanted to take lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy the journey through the series of photographs that I have taken.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Jim stands at the entrance to the cave.

On the way back we passed by a ford which would be fun to drive through if you had the right type of vehicle. We followed the path home but took a quick stop at the Three Shires Inn where I enjoyed a pint of my favourite beer named after the Old Man of Coniston. The pub is not of the same character as the Sun in Coniston and the only saving feature is the beer.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
The deep ford over the river Blathey

Postscript – We enjoyed the walk so much that we took the grandchildren along the same path. They so enjoyed the bridge and the visit to the cave. They will remember this visit for a long time in the future.

Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Walking towards Slater’s Bridge
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Group photograph on the bridge.
Slater's bridge and Cathedral Cave, Little Langdale, the Lake District, August 2023
Performing in Cathedral Cave.

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Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.

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Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022

Visiting popular National Trust destinations does have its challenges if you are a keen amateur photographer.  Hanbury Hall is so photogenic and countless pictures have been taken over the years.  I would guess each season throws up wonderful views not only of the house but the impeccable gardens as well.  Usually, before I visit a well-known property, I check over the web sites and look at other people’s photographs to find out which are the best views.  As it happens for this visit, I did not get myself organised, so I went to Hanbury Hall not knowing what to expect.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The commanding entrance to Hanbury Hall.

Arriving by car you pass the front façade of the house and catch a glimpse of the striking architecture.  Walking back to the house from the carpark, the entrance approach provides post card picture views.  The property is operating a timed ticket entrance which limits the amount of people.  This favours the photographer as in this case there are only a few people and not the crowds that may interrupt the pictures.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Lots of tubs with tulips

First stop was the interior of the house, and I met a volunteer who in a few minutes gave me all the information I needed.  Also, I found out that she was a good photographer and took a picture of me on the grand staircase with the beautiful paintings as a backdrop. The building is interesting and there was much activity happening in the house.  The volunteers did not mind having their photographs taken included one dressed up as the former owner of the house, Thomas Vernon.  The staircase is beautiful and the wall to ceiling painting by the English painter Sir James Thornhill has so much to see.  I spent some time moving around using my iPhone for the pictures finding that the wide-angle lens was very useful.

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The beautiful painting that highlights the staircase.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
An upward view
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A volunteer dressed up as “Thomas Vernon” former owner of the house.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Preparing the table with the silverware.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
There are some beautiful rooms in the house.

Following that important mid-morning coffee, it was time to set off and explore the grounds of the house.  I am always amazed how the National Trust find gardeners to tend and cultivate their extensive properties.  They are so creative and design wonderful garden designs.  The apple orchard was symmetrically laid out and the trees were just beginning to blossom.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The beautiful apple orchard.

The Orangery was a particular favourite of mine.  The sun was shining in through the large windows accentuating the orange glow of the brick paintwork.  I leant that this grade II listed building has red Flemish bond ashlar brickwork which gives the characteristic colour.  There is also a tiled floor. One of the tiles has a dog paw print caused by a disobedient pet wandering around before the cement had set 250 years ago.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The Orangery
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The inside of the Orangery
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The 250 year old footprint!
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A pheasant greeting

The symmetry of the Pareteer garden was beautifully coloured by yellow tulips.  The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes “a Pareteer as the division of garden beds in such a way that the pattern is itself an ornament.”  It is like an Elizabethan knot garden and was fun to photograph.  Linking the gardens is Snob’s tunnel which returns you to the back of the house.  The tunnel allowed servants to move around without being seen by guests of the house.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Love the symmetry in the gardens
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
The house in a lensball.
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Snob’s Tunnel
Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
Beautiful walks surround the property.

On my way home I visited Hanbury Church which is adjacent to the Hall and has commanding views over the river seven valley.  

Hanbury Hall, National Trust, 2022
A window to the world

If you enjoyed this account of Hanbury Hall, then please visit my blog on Croome which is another nearby National Trust property. The official National Trust website account of Hanbury Hall provides more information.