Lake District Towns and Villages
Caldbeck in the Lake District National Park
Caldbeck, 'the cold stream', lies in the northern part of the Nation Park, in an area known for centuries as 'Back O' Skidda', meaning hidden by Skiddaw. It is an attractive village, with a village green complete with duck pond, and ancient church standing beside the charming river Cold Beck, that boasts two permanent, famous residents, John Bull, the famous huntsman and Mary Robinson, the beautiful maid of Buttermere.
Caldbeck's main industry was agriculture until the discovery of mineral wealth in the local fells. During the 18th century, mills were built along the river to provide power for a number of new industries in the vicinity which included spinning wool, paper making, corn grinding as well as limestone quarring and lead, copper and coal mining. Caldbeck became a thriving village at one time having some 54 miners, 20 weavers, 11 blacksmiths, 13 shoemakers and 4 cloggers doing their trade and some of the old buildings still stand.
The original settlement probably grew around St Kentigern Church built in the early part of the 12th century. St Kentigern, better known as Mungo, was supposed to have preached in the district during his flight from the King of Strathclyde and there is a well, behind the church which is dedicated to him. John Peel, a local huntsman, immortalised in the song 'D' ye ken John Peel, with his coat so grey' is buried here.
There are a number of mills in the area, one of which, Priests Mill has been tastefully restored and is now home to a restaurant and various craft and other shops.
There is some very pleasant walking to be had around Caldbeck, with the nearby Caldbeck Fells quite wild and isolated. One can stroll along the river and visit the limestone gorge known as the Howk, which shows you the river in all its glory as well the remains of old mills. Or one can walk to Hesket Newmarket a pretty little village set around a wide green with a canopied market cross and well known for its tiny brewery.
The Oddfellow's Arms is a popular weekend haunt of visitor's to the area and has rooms available in a converted mill at the back.