Tag: windermere

Lake District Electric Bike Routes

Lake District electric bike routes

 

Cumbria is gearing up for this week’s Tour of Britain, as some of the top names in cycling race through the region’s stunning landscape. But they won’t get much of a chance to enjoy the scenery.

On the other hand, you have the perfect opportunity to explore all that region has to offer. What’s more, hills won’t be an issue. By hiring one of our electric bikes, you can set off on your own mini tour around Windermere. You might not break any speed records, but what a fantastic way to while away a few hours. You could even pack up a picnic.

We’ve even done some exploring of our own to come up with a few Lake District electric bike routes if you’re looking for a little inspiration. And they all start from the front door of your Matson Ground cottage in Windermere.

Windermere to the Watermill at Ings

We’ll start with a firm favourite of ours, and not just because it involves a drink at the Watermill. Most of this ride is on a gated road so you hardly see any traffic – although you will have to stop and open the occasional gate.

Rather than returning on the gated road, cross the A591 and explore the quiet lanes just south of Windermere, before heading back to your cottage for a well-earned rest.

Windermere Western Shore

The western shore of Windermere is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Bowness and the perfect place to explore by bike. What’s more, it’s easily reached via the Windermere Ferry. The quiet lanes and undulating, traffic free cycle path are hugely popular with families. And if you’re after some refreshments, the beautiful village of Hawkshead is easily reached.

Tarn Hows

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging having arrived on the western shore, why not head to Wray Castle and from there on to Tarn Hows. This is a challenging ride, with some steep prolonged climbing – but this is where the electric motor really comes into its own. But the views are amazing, and the sight of Tarn Hows laid out before you makes it all worthwhile. The perfect spot for a picnic, or you could even pop into Coniston for some well-deserved refreshment.

Windermere Loop

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try the Windermere Loop – a full circuit of England’s largest lake. At almost 40 miles, this is a great introduction to Lake District cycling.

The ride will take you through Ambleside, Hawkshead and Newby Bridge before a steady climb up Cartmel Fell, followed by a descent through Bowland Bridge (where you may feel tempted to pop in to the Hare and Hounds for some refreshment), before joining the A5074 for the final leg through the glorious Winster Valley.

The Langdales and Grasmere

These are just a few of the rides we have enjoyed, but with so much to explore the possibilities are endless. For instance, from Ambleside you could head up into the Langdales, where there are plenty of pubs and cafés, not to mention stunning scenery.

Another option from Ambleside is to pedal on to Grasmere. This is a stunning ride, crossing Rothay Park and heading towards Grasmere on improved bridleways and quiet lanes.

If you want more information about these Lake District electric bike routes when you hire one of our electric bikes, please do ask and we can provide maps and directions.

Electric Bike Hire in the Lake District – Review

electric bike hire in the lake district

Our electric bike hire in the Lake District is proving very popular, but it’s always nice to get a glowing review. One guest was so impressed that she got in touch and very kindly sent us her feedback.

“Overall, I would highly recommend them. They open up opportunities to explore the local area that some people would not ordinarily get to explore due to fitness levels. I am a runner and a cyclist but I really enjoyed the extra help the electric bike gave on a day when I was tired after completing a Lakeland Trails race. Irrespective of fitness levels they are fun and very easy to use. I would recommend that guests hire one to explore the beauty of the lakes. A great day out and an adventure not to be missed.”

Explore the area on an electric bike

Currently, the bikes are available for hire by guests in our Windermere cottages, and as our guests says, a great way to explore the surrounding area. There are a number of quiet roads in the area, perfect for a day exploring without the car. We would highly recommend crossing Lake Windermere on the car ferry and exploring the western shore – it’s perfect for bikes and when the hills get a little bit too much, the electric motor will kick in to give you a much needed boost.

Our electric bikes are available to hire from one day right up to six days (if you really want to ditch the car). Prices start at £50 / bike. All bikes are supplied with locks, visi-vests, helmets and full familiarisation is given prior to hire.

Electric Bike Hire Prices

Prices for our electric bike hire in the Lake District are as follows:

One day hire – £50 / bike

Weekend hire – £70 / bike

Three-day hire – £105 / bike

Six-day hire – £210 / bike

For more information, please call 015394 45756 or 07944 378070.

Lakeland Motor Museum

lakeland motor museum

A little over a mile from the southern tip of Lake Windermere you’ll find the Lakeland Motor Museum. With over 30,000 exhibits ranging from vintage fire engines to collectible toys, this is an absolute must for any motor enthusiast. In fact, even if cars and bikes are not your thing, it’s a fantastic day out, as the museum offers so much more than just cars. And after your walk through motoring history, why not pop into Café Ambio for a bite to eat?

The Museum

The museum is located in a converted mill in the village of Backbarrow, just off the A590. Among the 30,000 or so exhibits are around 140 classic cars and motorbikes, as well as a host of other ‘automobilia’.  Take a trip down memory lane as you wander through over 100 years of automotive history, as well as some local history, authentic recreations and period shopping displays. Learn all about the Isle of Man TT race and marvel at the huge collection of bicycles, pedal cars and caravans.

The extensive car collection will no doubt provoke a sense of nostalgia for many visitors, and for the younger ones a sense of intrigue – they’ll be amazed at the amphicar, built in 1966 and designed to swim through water at the push of a lever. In fact, one was even driven by the former owner of Belle Isle – the largest of Windermere’s eighteen islands – making it a regular sight gliding across England’s largest natural lake.

For those of us with a few more miles on the clock, we’ll no doubt remember family cars, first cars and cars we wish we’d held onto! From vintage and veteran to weird and wonderful, there really is something for everyone.

The Campbell Bluebird Exhibition

Opposite the main building is a separate exhibition dedicated to the work of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, who between them set twenty-one land a water speed records. The exhibition includes a timeline of their achievements, as well as full size replicas of the 1935 Bluebird car, the 1939 Bluebird boat and the 1967 jet hydroplane, Bluebird K7.

Café Ambio

Once you’ve explored the museum and the Bluebird Exhibition, make sure you visit Café Ambio where you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of options. Open from 9.30am to 5.30pm every day, it’s a great way to finish your visit to the Lakeland Motor Museum. And if it’s a nice day, why not sit outside by the river?

Electric Bike Hire in Windermere

Electric Bike Hire in Windermere

We can now offer our guests electric bike hire in Windermere. Which means exploring the Lake District is just a little bit easier, not to mention greener. It’s amazing how much more you see, smell and hear when you’re out of the car. Now you can fully immerse yourself in our wonderful landscape.

We have recently taken delivery of four fantastic ‘Ideal FuTour’ electric bikes for the exclusive use of our Matson Ground guests when you stay in one of our Windermere cottages. The bikes are available for hire from a single day right up to a full week.

Head for the Hills

What a great opportunity to explore the hills, fells and lakes of the Lake District’s stunning landscape. This is without doubt great cycling country, the western shore in particular being a fantastic spot for bikes. A chance to enjoy quiet, traffic free lanes. A chance to find hidden gems.

You can cross to the western shore on the car ferry and cycle the lake shore track to Wray Castle. Or explore the peaceful countryside between Windermere and Coniston? Maybe take in a spot of lunch in Hawkshead?

You could stay a little more local, exploring the lanes around Bowness and Windermere. Take the ‘gated road’ from just outside the Matson Ground Estate and pop across to Ings, where you can quench your thirst in the Watermill.

The options are endless, as are the stunning views. Get away from the hustle and bustle of Bowness and Windermere and soak up the peace and quiet of the surrounding area. And if your legs begin to feel a little heavy, the motor will kick in to give you that little extra oomph.

The price for a single day is £50.00 / bike, but weekend rates and multi-day rates with generous discounts are also available.

The Technical Bit

The Ideal FuTour Ebike Low Step has been built to be ridden in all conditions, although we do prefer it when it’s sunny!

There is a 250 watt Shimano drive motor which will assist you up to speeds of 15.5mph (great for those hills). It’s powered by a 36 volt 418wh lithium-ion battery which can give an impressive range of up to 90 miles per full charge.

The handlebar-mounted Shimano STEPS display delivers a complete range of information, such as speed, tripometer and battery indicator. There is also a walk-assist function.

The motor delivers a smooth yet powerful natural riding experience. It is combined with a Shimano Altus 8-speed, more than capable of handling all of your daily activities.

It has an adjustable preload suspension fork and adjustable handlebar stem. The comfortable upright riding position is ideal for long rides. In short, this is the perfect way to explore Windermere and the surrounding area.

If you would like more information about our electric bike hire in Windermere, please do get in touch.

Lucy’s of Ambleside Private Dining

Lucy's of Ambleside Private Dining

We are delighted to be able to offer our guests Lucy’s of Ambleside private dining services. Fantastic food delivered straight to your Matson Ground cottage. Meaning you get a very well-deserved night off – after all, you are on holiday.

Whether you’re in the Lake District for a special occasion or simply spending time with family and friends, why not enjoy a delicious dining experience from Lucy’s Inside Out? Take away the headache of shopping, putting away, preparing, serving, washing up. Instead, choose from a selection of dishes, prepared using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.

All meals are catered for, from small and intimate to large and loud. If you fancy something ready prepared for when you arrive, maybe you’re celebrating a special occasion during your stay, or you simply fancy a night away from the cooker, let us know and we’ll send you some menus.

What’s on the menu?

Lucy’s of Ambleside private dining offers a range of dishes. Choose from the ‘Hot and Hearty’ savoury selections, perfect for small and large parties. If you’re gathering guests together for a celebration, enjoying a simple kitchen supper or you want something warm and tasty after a day walking the fells and don’t feel like cooking, these dishes are the perfect solution.

The ‘Super Salads’ menu has been designed to accompany most of the dishes at Lucy’s Inside Out, while the ‘Delicious Desserts’ menu will have you sorely tempted to ditch the diet for the day, offering over twenty luscious, sweet treats. From Westmorland Toffee Apple Crumble Tart to Damson and Sloe Gin Fruit Fool, Lancashire Lemon Tart to Sublime Sticky Toffee Pudding laced with rich butterscotch sauce, we challenge you not to indulge.

Lucy’s of Ambleside

Lucy’s of Ambleside comprises Lucy’s On A Plate, Lucy’s relaxed and friendly Ambleside-based restaurant, as well as Lucy’s Inside Out, for those who fancy a taste of Lucy’s On A Plate but in the comfort of their own home.

For more information about Lucy’s Inside Out, or to take a look at the menus, please do get in touch.

The Lakes of the Lake District

The lakes of the lake district

How much do you know about the lakes of the Lake District? For instance, do you know how many lakes there are in the Lake District? It’s a trick question of course, because the answer is one. Although the Lake District is home to many meres, tarns and waters, Bassenthwaite Lake is the only official lake in the Lake District.

There are actually sixteen bodies of water which give the Lake District its name, not to mention hundreds of beautiful, smaller tarns. With such breath-taking scenery, it’s no wonder it has become one of the UK’s most desirable holiday destinations.

Hopefully our quick whistlestop tour of the sixteen ‘major lakes’ in the Lake District National Park will give you a little insight into what each of them offers.

We’ll start close to home, just a few minutes from many of our Matson Ground cottages.

Windermere

At 10.5 miles long, Windermere is the Lake District’s largest lake and arguably the best-known of them all. It has become a favourite amongst watersports enthusiasts, and with the steamers and ferries making their regular trips up and down (and across) the lake, it’s a hub of activity. From windsurfing to sailing, rowing to sup-boarding, there’s something for everyone, whatever your level of expertise. And for those who prefer dry land, there are a number of walks in the surrounding hills, including Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright first fell in the love with the Lake District.

Ullswater

If you’re staying in Cruck Barn, Elm How or Eagle Cottage, you’ll be very familiar with Ullswater, the Lake District’s second largest lake. At around 7.5 miles long, Ullswater is much quieter than Windermere. One way to explore the lake is on the famous steamers, which can be boarded at Glenridding’s jetty. For land lovers, the 20-mile Ullswater Way which circumnavigates the lake is another great way to explore the lake and its surroundings. If you’re more adventurous, England’s third highest peak, Helvellyn, is a popular climb for visitors to the area.

Derwentwater

Located near the popular tourist town of Keswick, Derwentwater is the third largest lake in the Lake District. With dramatic landscapes which change from one minute to the next, depending on the time of year and the weather, it has become a photographer’s dream. There are a number of walking trails around the lake, including the family-friendly hike up Catbells. And for those wishing to explore the lake itself, why not hire out one of the colourful rowing boats or hop on one of the Keswick Launches?

Bassenthwaite Lake

Not only is Bassenthwaite Lake the only ‘official lake’ in the Lake District, it is also the most northerly of the major lakes in the Lake District National Park. Furthermore, it’s the shallowest at just 70 feet deep. The lake is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Herons and cormorants are a common sight, while the summer months herald the return to its shores of the Ospreys. At the northern end of the lake, you can visit Dubwath Wetland Nature Reserve, home to curlews, reed buntings and meadow pipits, among others.

Coniston Water

This picturesque lake provided some of the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s famous children’s book, ‘Swallows and Amazons’. It’s a popular destination for families, looking to recreate some of the stories from the book, or simply enjoying some fun on the water. Alternatively, enjoy the scenery aboard the beautifully restored Gondola, a Victorian steam-powered yacht which sails gracefully up and down the lake in the summer months.

Haweswater

Haweswater is a reservoir, controversially constructed in 1929 to supply water to towns and cities in the north-west of England. In order to achieve this, the villages of Mardale Green and Measand were flooded; nowadays, in times of drought, the foundations and ruins of these villages can be seen, a sight which brings in visitors, curious to get a glimpse of a bygone time.

Thirlmere

Thirlmere is another ma-made reservoir which was created in 1894 to supply water to Manchester. The residents of the villages of Wythburn and Amboth were relocated – only the church of Wythburn village survives. The reservoir is surrounded on all sides by enchanting forests, where the residents include red squirrels and red deer. The small car park adjacent to Wythburn Church is an excellent starting point for those planning to tackle Helvellyn.

Ennerdale Water

Despite being arguably one of the prettiest lakes in the Lake District, Ennerdale is possibly the least visited. And with no roads running its length, it is also one of the most peaceful. Only canoes and kayaks are allowed on Ennerdale (although you do need to have a permit). There are also some glorious walks which follow the shoreline, or for the most adventurous, why not tackle one of the surrounding fells?

Wastwater

Described by William Wordsworth as “stern and desolate”, Wastwater is England’s deepest lake at 260 feet. It is also home to one of Britain’s favourite views, the narrow valley with the peaks of Red Pike, Great Gable and Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. In fact, the outline of the three peaks which stand at the eastern end of lake (Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Great Gable) was selected as the symbol for the Lake District National Park.

The lakes of the lake district

Crummock Water

This pretty lake lies at the foot of Grasmoor Peak and is home to the tallest waterfall in the Lake District, Scale Force. For those looking for adventure on the lake, rowing boats are available for hire along the shore. It is also popular with wild swimmers who love the sheltered shingle beach by the slate boathouse. Like Thirlmere, if you’re lucky you might spot a red squirrel in the woodlands o the lake shore.

Those are the ten largest lakes in the Lake District National Park. The remaining six lakes are: Esthwaite Water, Grasmere, Buttermere, Loweswater, Rydal Water and Brothers Water. Each of these wonderful lakes is worth a visit, each one offering a network of trails for those looking to explore.

We hope this has given you a little insight into the major lakes of the Lake District. If nothing else, at least you’ll know the answer to the popular quiz question: How many lakes are there in the Lake District?

Books for a Matson Ground Holiday

Matson Ground holiday reads

This week we celebrated World Book Day and it got us thinking about what books we would we pack for our Matson Ground holiday.

With literally millions of books to choose from, this would need some serious thinking. To make it a little easier, we decided to focus our search close to the Lake District. After all, it’s well-known for its wonderful literary heritage, boasting writing talent such as William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome.

But we’re not necessarily after poetry or children’s books. We’re looking for gripping page-turners. Something you can really lose yourself in.

Our final list features a number of excellent books. What’s more, each one is set in the Lake District and based on the reviews, they’re on our list.

Happy reading!

The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid

It’s summer in the Lake District, and heavy rains have uncovered a tattooed body. Could it be linked to rumours that Fletcher Christian, mutinous first mate on the Bounty, did secretly return to England, where he was sheltered by Lakeland poet, William Wordsworth?

Local Wordsworth specialist, Jane Gresham, wants to find out. But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. Jane soon finds herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still puts lives at risk.

Haweswater by Sarah Hall

Haweswater tells the tale of a centuries-old community that has survived into the 1930s largely unchanged, until Jack Liggett arrives from the city.

Liggett is a spokesperson for a Manchester waterworks company which has designs on a vast new reservoir. The valley in which the community has stood for hundreds of years will be evacuated, flooded, devastated.

This is a story of love, obsession and the destruction of a community.

Also by Sarah Hall, The Wolf Border.

The Windermere Witness by Rebecca Tope

Florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown has moved to the Lake District following a personal tragedy, content to lose herself in her work. But the peace is short-lived when, at the wedding of a millionaire’s daughter, the bride’s brother is found dead in the lake.

As the wedding florist, and one of the last people to speak to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy becomes embroiled in the relatives’ grief and anger.

When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the very heart of a murder investigation.

Also by Rebecca Tope, The Ambleside Alibi and The Coniston Case.

The Woman from Browhead by Audrey Howard

If the psychological / crime genre isn’t your thing, how about a bit of historical romance? Set in the late 1840s and early 1850s, The Woman from Browhead tells the story of Annie Abbott, daughter and only child of a poverty-stricken Lake District farmer, who ran away with a theatre group at the age of fifteen.

Hearing that her parents have died, she returns to lay claim to the farm. But with an illegitimate child in tow, virtually no-one will speak to her, with the exception of a local landowner. But he is engaged to marry another woman.

Also by Audrey Howard, Annie’

All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills

This is one we haven’t read yet but will be doing so very soon. By all accounts it’s hard to pigeon-hole in terms of genre; possibly a ‘tragi-comedy’. It’s been described as weird, funny, quirky. Perhaps it’s this ‘hard to define’ element which makes it all the more appealing.

As for the plot itself, it’s the end of the Summer in the Lake District, the sun is lower in the sky and the tourists have gone home. Our unnamed narrator decides to spend a few weeks in the Lake District, enjoying the quiet, before embarking on a motorcycle trip to India.

The book description reads: “But then the owner of the campsite asks him to paint a fence and he innocently obliges. Soon other odd jobs pile up until little by little he becomes ensnared in the ominous ‘out-of-season’.

Sounds intriguing.

We hope this list provides a little inspiration for you when it comes to books for a Matson Ground holiday. If you fancy buying something while you’re staying in the Lakes, why not pop into Fred’s Bookshop where you will find a diverse range of books.

Birdwatching in the Lake District

Birdwatching in the Lake District National Park

This weekend marked the RSPB’s 42nd Big Garden Birdwatch, the perfect excuse to get out the binoculars and go birdwatching in the Lake District.

This is an annual event which actually began as an event for children. In 1979, the RSPB got together with Blue Peter and asked children to let them know which birds they had seen in their garden. Hundreds got involved, sending in their findings. Today, it is the UK’s largest garden wildlife citizen science project, last year attracting around half a million participants.

So, not only was this an excuse to go birdwatching in the Lake District, but It was also the ideal opportunity to help the UK’s bird population. All the data gathered will help the RSPB increase its understanding of the various challenges faced by wildlife.

Wrapped up warm, binoculars and cameras at the ready, we headed out on to the Matson Ground Estate.

Matson Ground Estate

With over 1000 acres of estate to explore, we began the day by stretching our legs, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying some of the fantastic views of Lake Windermere and the Lake District fells beyond. Pheasants, buzzards, a sparrowhawk and even a jay meant we had a good start to our morning of birdwatching.

Legs stretched, we decided to head to the office for our official RSPB hour (followed by a little admin following a flurry of weekend bookings – this is definitely turning in the year of the staycation).

While it’s no RSPB reserve, we have always had a number of bird feeders hanging up around the building, so we knew we would be guaranteed a steady stream of visitors.

Our Big Garden Birdwatch

We were not disappointed. While our personal highlight was the flock of about a dozen long-tailed tits, we also saw a nuthatch, a robin, blackbirds, coal tits, great tits, sparrows, chaffinches and dunnocks. We are certainly very lucky to have such an abundance of wildlife just outside the office window.

For more information about the comings and goings of birds in UK gardens, the RSPB website is a fantastic place to start.

In the meantime, we’ll keep the feeders full and we’ll carry on enjoying the antics of some of the UK’s favourite birds.

For details on the best places for Cumbria birding, or any other information you’d like about the Lake District National Park, please contact us.

Birdwatching in the Lake District National Park

 

 

Our favourite places to eat near Windermere

Places to eat near Windermere

Recently, we were discussing our favourite places to eat near Windermere, and it turns out the list is a long one. From small cafés to Michelin Star restaurants, we’ve all got our favourites. Some are great for a light lunch, others perfect for a celebration evening out.

Of course, once upon a time, a trip to the Lake District was all about adventure and the breath-taking scenery. And while that’s still very much the case today, with seven Michelin Star restaurants, you’re just as likely to visit for the fantastic food, as you are to scale a summit.

Given the current situation, it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses. So, we thought we’d share five of our favourites with you, covering everything from a special occasion to a catch-up brunch, and everything in between. What’s even better about this list, is that they are all within five miles of our Windermere cottages.

HRiSHi

First on our list is the Michelin starred, four AA rosette HRiSHi, where Head Chef, Hrishikesh Desai, uses locally sourced ingredients to create modern British cuisine with a twist.

Diners can choose from a variety of modern British menus, including plant-based options, with a delicate hint of Indian influence in some of the dishes.

Whether you opt for a traditional three course meal, a stunning seven-course tasting menu, or a decadent take on afternoon tea, you will be captivated by the wonderful array of flavours.

Gilpin Spice

Next door to HRiSHi is the two AA rosette Gilpin Spice, a more informal dining experience boasting an open kitchen serving tapas-style pan-Asian sharing dishes.

The menu at Gilpin Spice is inspired by Cumbria’s rich history as a centre of the spice trade, with influences picked up along the spice trail including the Philippines, the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia and Japan.

Gilpin Spice is well worth a visit – wonderful, creative dishes and fantastic service.

The Brown Horse Inn, Winster

Nestled in the beautiful Winster Valley, the Brown Horse Inn is cosy and welcoming in all seasons. This 1850’s coaching inn has been beautifully decorated, retaining the original features, giving it a warm, traditional feel.

On warm, summer days, you can sit outside and soak up the wonderful views. When the nights draw in, enjoy comfort dishes with a touch of elegance, including slow-cooked meats, Stornoway black pudding or Thai green curry.

The owners try to keep the menu as local and as close to nature as possible. And you will definitely receive a warm welcome.

The Angel Inn, Bowness

In the centre of Bowness is the Angel Inn, a firm favourite with families, serving fantastic locally sourced beers, a superb range of wines and freshly prepared food.

The Angel Inn was ‘born’ in 2005 and has been run by the same family since it opened. Their ethos is to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere and welcome for all ages, whether you’re sitting down to eat or just popping in for a quick drink.

Homeground

Our final choice is Homeground in Windermere. Established in 2015, Homeground is a boutique coffee house which was winner of Cumbria Food and Drink Awards ‘Best Café’ in 2016 and 2018.

Open during the day for walk-ins only, this is the place to go for a skinny flat white, a slice of cake and warm, friendly service. It does a great brunch too. It’s our go to for important meetings!

Of course, we’ve barely touched the surface when it comes to great places to eat near Windermere, let alone the rest of the Lake District. I’m sure we’ll get on to them at some stage. But rest assured, if you are visiting, give one of the above a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Fell Pony Adventures at Matson Ground

Fell pony adventures on the Matson Ground Estate

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to enjoy a fell pony adventure on the Matson Ground Estate, courtesy of Tom Lloyd, owner of Fell Pony Adventures. This is just one of the tailormade activities we offer our guests, and we had the opportunity to experience it first-hand. And what a fabulous day it was.

This is an adventure suitable for families and groups of all ages, and the perfect way to introduce people to horses. Tom is very patient, so even if you’ve had no experience of horses, you’ll soon feel at ease. Tom is also all geared up for social distancing, as everything takes place in open spaces – a chance to breathe in some fresh, clean air.

What’s more, it’s an absolute treat at any time of the year. The stunning Lake District scenery is never the same from one day to the next, so you’re guaranteed a different view every time. It’s even great fun in the rain, as we found out on our fell pony adventure.

As the saying goes; “There’s no such thing as bad weather. Only unsuitable clothing.”

This is what memories are made of

We began our fell pony adventure at Birkdale House, where we met Tom and his daughter, Flo, along with Faye and Pansy, our fell ponies for the day. Once we had loaded them up with the essentials for the day – picnic, shelter, camping stove, spare harnesses and tethers – we set off.

We gently led the ponies along the byways and lanes of the estate, stopping in an organic hay meadow for lunch. We tethered the horses, put up the waterproof shelter and settled back to take in the breath-taking views.

Tom had prepared our lunch – cranberry balsamic vinegar, Appleby Brie, Garstang Blue, mixed olives, smoked humous, homemade leek and potato soup (his own family recipe) and artisan bread. Absolutely delicious.

It’s days like this when we realise just how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. This is what memories are made of.

With the packsaddles loaded up, we set off back to Birkdale House. What a wonderful way to spend a day. For a few hours we had been transported to a different time entirely, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fell Pony Adventures

Fell Pony Adventures is based at the southern end of Lake Windermere, where Tom keeps a herd of about a dozen semi-feral ponies.

The herd was originally established by Tom’s father, Walter, but Tom made the decision a few years ago to switch careers – he had been a film producer – so that he could keep the herd going. He took his mountain leadership course and set up Fell Pony Adventures.

Nowadays, Tom works the ponies, leading families and groups on day trips around Windermere, following old pack-horse routes through meadows, woods and fells.

For our guests, the Matson Ground Estate provides a ready-made route. What a perfect day out.

Huge thanks to Tom, Faye and Pansy.