Grange Fell Cottage is the end cottage of a row of three, which were formerly a barn. The cottages flank one side of Grange’s original village, and its green is immediately outside our cottage.
The cottage has a spacious, light and airy feel. The kitchen is well-equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, fridge freezer, and plenty of kitchenware and crockery. A washer/dryer is provided, essential for those days when you brave the weather to see the spectacular waterfalls. The substantial table is ample for six, with comfortable, solid chairs. Using the map on the wall, meal times become a time to plan the following day’s activities. A high chair and booster seat mean that little ones feel included.
To capture the essence of Borrowdale, you can read about Wainwright’s walks or Hugh Walpole’s ‘Rogue Herries’ series (which features the double-humped Grange bridge, Rosthwaite and Watendlath), or watch the BBC DVD of the Wainwright series featuring Julia Bradbury. (An enthusiastic fellwalker, Wainwright is recognised as the definitive expert on the fells, and has inspired generations of walkers.) A selection of DVDs, books and games are also provided.
The woodburning stove is the focal point of the lounge, creating an intimate warm, cosy atmosphere as you snuggle up on the two comfortable three-seater sofas.
The cottage boasts three bathrooms – a downstairs cloakroom, a family bathroom, with a bath with shower over, and an ensuite to the master bedroom, to ensure that there are no queues in the morning!
The beds are made up ready for you on arrival – a double bed in the master bedroom and twin beds in each of the two other good-sized bedrooms. The third bedroom, a loft conversion, enjoys stunning views of the surrounding fells. Tub chairs mean that you can enjoy the stillness and gaze out at the magnificent surroundings. A travel cot and stair gate are also provided
Porches at both the front and rear of the property provide plenty of hooks and boot storage for all your outdoor gear, so the cottage retains its uncluttered feel. In front of the cottage, within the area enclosed by a traditional Lakeland dry stone wall, is a patio set.
Secure lockable cycle storage is just a few steps away, in a traditional wash house. Two parking spaces are allocated for guests.
WiFi is available so that you can keep in touch with the outside world. Phone contact is possible in the cottage, depending on your network.
Grange Fell Cottage is located in the hamlet of Grange, in Borrowdale, which is within Wainwright’s “loveliest square mile of Lakeland”. Grange is a short distance from Derwentwater, often called the 'queen of the lakes', and at the entrance to the Jaws of Borrowdale, the narrow area between the jaws of Castle Crag, Julia Bradbury’s favourite fell, and Grange Fell (after which the cottage is named).
Derwentwater’s water activities are on your doorstep and the attractive town of Keswick is only four miles away, with restaurants, shops, museums, art galleries, a cinema and a theatre.
More photos of the nearby area are on the 'Lake District' page.
Grange is reached via a double-humped bridge over the River Derwent. Built in 1675, it featured in Hugh Walpole’s ‘Rogue Herries’ series of books. Hugh Walpole himself lived in Brackenburn, about a mile north of Grange overlooking Derwentwater, from 1924 until his death in 1941.
‘Grange’ means ‘outlying farm belonging to a monastery’, and indeed Grange’s history dates back to medieval times when the monks of Furness Abbey owned the land here. The cottage is situated in the heart of the original Grange, where a barn, cottages and a farm surround three sides of the village square. Holy Trinity Church, with its bell tower, was built in 1861 (visible from the kitchen window), and a Methodist Church followed in 1878. The hamlet has grown little since then, and remains a cluster of cottages, several farms and two tea shops. Grange Fell cottage is conveniently placed in between the latter, so you are spoilt for choice of food!
Grange Fell Cottage is named after Grange Fell, the mountain the far side of the River Derwent overlooking Grange. (Lake District mountains are called fells.) Grange Fell has three peaks: Kings How, Grund Fell and Ether Knott. When King Edward VII died in 1910, his sister Louise bought Grange Fell and placed a memorial stone to him just below the summit of King’s How.
Borrowdale continues south of Grange, with the hamlets of Rosthwaite, Stonethwaite (the oldest and my favourite), Seatoller and Seathwaite (the beginning of the walks to Great Gable or Scafell). Borrowdale is a beautiful valley, and it is lovely to walk between the hamlets, and enjoy a cup of tea in the Flock-In in Rosthwaite, or a pint in the Langstrath in Stonethwaite.
Cross The River Derwent over traditional Lakeland stone bridges, or bridge the stepping stones at Rosthwaite, as it courses through the valley. Between Borrowdale’s fingers, the fells beckon you, asking to be climbed – Bessyboot (part of Rosthwaite Fell), Stonethwaite Fell, or Eagle Crag, each with its becks and waterfalls.
At the far end of Borrowdale, the Honister Pass rises steeply and dramatically, a stark contrast to the lushness of the valley left behind. At its summit you can tour the restored Slate Mine of Honister, the last working slate mine in England, or attempt England’s first via ferrata. The Honister Pass takes you to Buttermere, a small but tranquil and beautiful lake. Because of its position surrounded by fells, you may be lucky enough to see a near-perfect reflection of the fells in the water.
To the north lies Derwentwater with all its water activities. Platty+ is close by on the eastern side, where you can canoe, kayak, row, sail, or board the Viking Longship or Dragon boat! You can try paddle boarding or windsurfing at the Marina (Portinscale on the West side), enjoy a low-level walk around it, or board the ferry to Keswick, Ashness Bridge, Lodore or High or Low Brandelhow. Beautiful walks await you at each stop. You may be fortunate enough to visit Derwent Island, the largest island on Derwentwater, owned by the National Trust, on one of the five days a year when it opens to the public. As well as walking to Keswick, the main town within the northern boundary of the Lake District (four miles), driving (ten minutes) or cruising, you could relax in the bus from Grange. Keswick has a weekly traditional market on a Saturday, and a local produce and craft market most Thursdays. Attractions such as the Pencil museum, Alhambra Cinema, Theatre by the Lake, Mirehouse (a house with many literary connections and beautiful gardens), the brewery, distillery, art galleries and photographic studios await you.
Keswick offers opportunities for many fine walks; one certainly worth doing is to Castlerigg stone circle, with its 360° panoramic view taking in many of the Lake District’s highest peaks, including Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Blencathra and Grasmoor. You may be lucky enough to see an osprey on Bassenthwaite Lake between April and August. Whinlatter Forest has the longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District, and the daring amongst you could brave the highest GoApe in the country, or experience segways. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can do rock climbing, ghyll (deep ravine) scrambling, abseiling, or raft building at Keswick Adventure Centre; alternatively, Rookin House Equestrian and Activity Centre offers activities for both youngsters and adults such as clay pigeon shooting, archery, go karts, 4x4 off-road driving, human bowling, quad bikes, JCB operation and paintballing, as well as horse riding – something for everyone.
A visit to the hamlet of Watendlath, East of Grange, tucked behind the brow of Grange Fell, is a must. The best way to approach Watendlath may be via High Lodore, joining the valley to walk towards the hamlet (and a welcome bowl of soup) beside the babbling beck. If you double back a bit along the road nearby you will see Surprise View, a magical panorama of Derwentwater. (Surprise View is number three in the government's top 10 Lake District locations.) Complete the walk by climbing to Dock Tarn and then towards Stonethwaite. Fold Head farmhouse in Watendlath was the home of Judith Parris in Hugh Walpole’s ‘Rogue Herries’ series. Another must is King’s How, part of Grange Fell, which rewards a climb largely up steps with the most breathtaking view of Grange and this cottage.
A climb up to Maiden Moor to the West opens out to give stunning views. Newlands Valley, hidden behind, is picturesque and peaceful, and the hamlet of Little Town certainly lives up to its name! The horseshoe around Dale Head into the Newlands valley offers awesome views at every turn. Less strenuous, perhaps our favourite walk is along the Allerdale Ramble. Turn left past Grange café, then left again after about a third of a mile, to walk past the camp site at Hallows Farm, passing to the back of Castle Crag (maybe diverting to climb it, a short, steep climb with a wonderful view at the top), and then up onto the straight, level path to Seatoller, with its panoramic views. You can drop down at lots of points to enjoy Johnny Wood, the stepping stones near Derwent Bridge, or a cup of tea in the Flock-In in Rosthwaite.