History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
A shingle beach frames Ravenglass, in western Cumbria, the only coastal village within the Lake District National Park. The village, whose main street is paved with sea cobbles, sits where three rivers meet: the Esk, the Mite, and the Irt. The Drigg Dunes and Irt Esturary Nature Reserve, to the north, is home to a colony of black headed gulls.
King John gave Ravenglass a market charter in 1208. It enjoyed prosperity when slate, quarried from the Lake District was loaded on boats in the harbour, but its importance as a port ended when the Industrial Revolution claimed other places nearer the centre of manufacturing and industry. Ravenglass's port silted up. Long before that time, the Romans, Norse and Saxons made use of the port.
From AD 78 through the 3rd century, one thousand Roman soldiers occupied Ravenglass. It served as an important naval base, command centre and supply distribution point for the occupation of the northwest of England. Little remains today of the Roman fort, called Glannaventa, except for the Bath House, known incongruously as Walls Castle. The structure, measuring 40 by 90 feet, with walls over 12 feet high, is one of the highest standing of Roman remains in England. The coast from Burgh-by-Sands to Ravenglass has been designated part of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site
The three-foot gauge railroad was built in 1875 by the Whitehaven Iron Mines to carry ore from Nab Gill, seven miles away, to the Furness Railroad at Ravenglass. Passenger fares helped keep the trains rolling when the mines failed in 1882. Sadly, the railroad stopped running in 1913, but it was reopened two years later as a 15-inch gauge, carrying both passengers and granite from Beckfoot quarry. In 1960 the Preservation Society purchased the railroad that now provides a scenic ride for travellers and locals alike, using either steam or diesel engines.
Near Boot is the 12th century St Catherine's Church in a magnificent setting by the River Esk at the upper end of Eskdale. Note the marigold designs on the font and the stained glass windows-St Catherine is shown on the east window.
Historians believe Ravenglass's name came from one of two sources, either 'rengles', the 'lot or share of a man called Glas' or the Old Irish 'rann' plus a personal name. Wherever its name came from, the village and its railroad is the start of a scenic adventure through Eskdale, one of the quietest and most rewarding of Cumbria's dales.
Ravenglass is on the A595 between Barrow-in-Furness and Whitehaven. North Western Trains on the Lancaster-Barrow-Carlisle line connect with Eskdale trains at Ravenglass.
Ravenglass Roman Bath House
¼ mile east of Ravenglass, off minor road leading to A595
English Heritage/Lake District National Park Authority
The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Co. Ltd.
Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1SW
Railway timetable: http://www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk/timetable.htm
Tel: 01229 717232
On the A595 Barrow in Furness to Workington road, one mile northeast of Ravenglass.
Open daily Easter to the end of October, 10-5pm Weekends, November to March, 11-4pm
At other times by appointment.
National Park Access Land
Tourist Information Centre: Sellafield Visitor Centre
Sellafield, Seascale CA20 1PG
Tel. 019467 27027
©2000 by Barbara Ballard. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.
Address: Ravenglass, Lake District, Cumbria, England
Attraction Type: Town
Photo Credit: http://www.visitcumbria.com/
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Ravenglass Roman Bath House - 0.7 miles (Roman Site)
Muncaster Castle - 1.2 miles (Castle)
Muncaster, St Michael's Church - 1.3 miles (Historic Church)
Gosforth, St Mary's Church - 5.5 miles (Historic Church)
Gosforth Cross - 5.5 miles (Historic Building)
Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall - 5.9 miles (Countryside)
Wast Water lake - 8.1 miles (Countryside)
Hardknott Roman Fort - 8.9 miles (Roman Site)
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