High Borrans Farm is well connected to the network of foot- and bridlepaths which criss-cross the Lake District fells and valleys in the direction of Kentmere (North East) and Troutbeck (North West). The well-known Garburn Pass is one such, and from this track, footpaths lead to the high fells of Ill Bell and Froswick, and connect to High Street, the famous Roman Road which runs from Windermere to Penrith along the fell tops. Nature lovers will delight in the abundant wildlife in this peaceful corner of Lakeland.
For an inspirational photographic diary of some of the walks in the area, look at www.stridingedge.net; you will be spoilt for choice.
The centre of the mountain bikers’ universe in the Lake District is Staveley Mill Yard, home to the iconic Wilf’s Café and to Wheelbase, the UK’s largest specialist mountain bike store, a very short ride from High Borrans Lodges
Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England and is only ten minutes’ drive away. Here there are plenty of water-borne activities from various points on its eastern shore at Bowness, Low Wood and Waterhead at Ambleside. Steamers and pleasure boats ply the length of the lake, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
If you fancy a break from driving your car but still want to take in the sights of the Lake District, minibus tours by the Mountain Goat company start from Windermere Station.
A must-see in the area is Townend at Troutbeck, built in 1626 for George Browne, a wealthy yeoman farmer and as such, a prime example of a statesman’s dwelling of the 17th Century, complete with much of its original oak furniture. Operated by the National Trust, it is open in the afternoons.
At the other end of the architectural spectrum is the Arts and Crafts house Blackwell, designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott for the prosperous brewery owner and former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Sir Edward Holt, as his country retreat. Blackwell offered Bailie Scott the opportunity to put his ideas on the use of space, light and texture into practice on a grand scale. Works by Ruskin and designs by William Morris abound. Blackwell sits on a hillside just south of Bowness, with splendid views over Windermere and the fells beyond.
For gardening enthusiasts, a visit to the Lakeland Horticultural Society’s ten-acre hillside garden at Holehird, near Troutbeck, is a must. The Society holds three national collections there: Astilbe, Hydrangea and Polystichum Ferns. Why not make a visit here the objective of a walk from High Borrans Lodges through the quiet lanes?
Many other gardens open to the public are to be found near Windermere (Brockhole, Stagshaw) and at Rydal Mount, just past Ambleside.
All available within the Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside areas, a very convenient drive from High Borrans Lodges. Ask your hosts at the farm, Cathy and Jonathan Hodgson, about any special recommendations..
In the nearby village of Staveley (2 miles away) are to be found a selection of “proper” shops – butcher, baker, Post Office/Newsagent, chemist, Fish and Chip shop and good pub serving food. Staveley Mill Yard, as well as being home to the aforementioned Wilf’s Café, also has the award-winning Hawkshead Brewery microbrewery, where you can come and sample the ales, an artisan bakery, and many other unusual and interesting businesses.
At Ings (1 mile) is a petrol station, and the well-known Watermill Inn, winner of many CAMRA awards, with its own brewery, serving speciality beers and good food. Dogs are welcome here.
Booths Supermarket, by Windermere Station, is the perfect place for all your grocery requirements where much of the produce is locally sourced. It offers an in-store bakery, fresh fish and meat counters, and an excellent selection of wines and spirits.
Windermere is also the home of Francines Restaurant, which is highly recommended, and serves lamb from the Hodgson farms.
For film fans, we always recommend trying the Zeffirellis experience in Ambleside, where you can dine in comfort in their Italian-accented restaurant and then just move a few short steps to their studio cinemas showing all the latest releases.