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Ravenglass coast
Kevin Eaves

Ravenglass lies at the foot of the lovely Eskdale Valley on the large estuary where the rivers Esk, Mite and Irt meet. The village was an important port in Roman times, when it was known as Clanoventa, but the harbour has long been silted up. In the 19th Century, boats still sailed from here to the Isle of Man and there were reports of smugglers using the small port.

A market charter was granted to Ravenglass in 1209, but the market no longer exists. The village comprises of a long main street, lined with cottages, which seem to huddle together. Close to the village are the remains of Walls Castle, which was originally the bath house of a Roman fort. Not far from here is a remnant of Newtown Knott Beacon Tower, which used to guide ships entering the village harbour. There is a lovely view of the harbour and coast from this spot.

Across the estuary from the village is a bird sanctuary and breeding ground for gulls. This is situated in the sand dunes and is not normally open to visitors. Many of the small islands in the estuary also serve as breeding grounds for the seabirds. However, care should be taken when visiting these, as the local tides can be very dangerous and rise particularly swiftly.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a narrow-gauge line starting in the village and running through some very beautiful scenery as far as Dalegarth, near Boot. It is worth buying an explorer ticket on the railway, as it is possible to stop at various stations en route, from which there are enjoyable walks through the Eskdale region. There is also a cycle track running between the two end of the line destinations. In Ravenglass is a small railway museum, displaying information about the railway route.

Not far from Ravenglass is Muncastle Castle, built in the 13th Century on the foundations of an earlier Roman building. The castle has been owned by the Pennington family throughout the centuries and is still their family home, although much expanded over the years. It is set in exotic gardens and is open to visitors. Within the grounds is the Owl Centre, a conservation centre for owls from around the world.

© 2018 Lake District Guide