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Showcasing Eden @ Lowther Castle
We began the day with a tour of Lowther’ s impressive gardens courtesy of Anja Phoenix from Tale Trails and Joseph Jackson from Cumbrian Heritage. Both guides gave the group unique insights into the history and hidden gems of Lowther Castle and despite an in-depth hour long tour it was clear that we had only scratched the surface of the rich tapestry of Lowther history.
Here’s a selection of my favourite gems shared via Anja;
- The old Victorian tennis court is now a happy home to a badger set. The badger set is opposite one of many small ‘Hansel and Gretel’ style summer homes which would make a perfect viewing platform to watch the badgers.
- Not for the squeamish but I loved the story of numerous rare ‘cave spiders’ found under the mosaic floor during the excavations….
- Anja collected numerous crayfish claws and shells (as shown in the picture) from the woods to demonstrate the health of the Lowther birds that feast on fish from the lake, after disregarding the claws.
- The sunken rock garden had numerous paths and trails and Anja explained how much kids enjoy treasure trails and adventures there, it wasn’t hard to imagine, or be quite jealous of, the fun they must have.
Joe’s rich knowledge also revealed a varied and interesting history of former owners and occupiers of the Lowther estate, the following stuck in my mind;
- Joes evident passion for Eden which is littered with stone circles and roman ruins. Joe claimed that the Eden Valley is one of the few places in the UK where a roman could return and wouldn’t find any changes!
- Joe pointed out the amazing Roman Bath completely intact (minus the bronze feet) and the various roman column remains which randomly appear around every corner.
- The viewing point form the Jubilee Summer house was spectacular; Joe gave a brief overview regarding the regular Scottish raids which took place in Eden whilst I kept quiet about my own Scottish ancestry!
We were treated to an internal tour of the castle which is set to become Lowther’ s gallery and visitor centre. Nigel the project manager explained the repair processes, restoration features and priorities. Some lovely features have remained including dents from horse’s hoofs, original tack rooms and beautiful stone floors. The views form inside are amazing and include the avenue of trees which neatly frame the distant hills owned by the Lowther estate. Each room was warmed by the new biomass boiler and it’s looking set to become a top visitor destination.
We then proceeded to enjoy a magnificent local Lowther lunch with plenty of hearty sandwiches and delicate treats. The café walls tastefully depict the history of the site and members enjoyed a networking and catch up opportunity.
After lunch we made our way back to the meeting room to discover the Nurture Eden food film, cycling offer, trails, mobile apps, photos and new visitor facing website!
The Nurture Eden team have been busy producing the above tools for visitors to explore and enjoy Eden and local businesses are set to benefit with a significant increase of offers designed to encourage their visitors to stay for longer. The Nurture Eden trails (out this summer) have been written by local passionate guides who have captured the essence of Eden across 5 themes;
- Culture & Heritage
- Arts & Crafts
- The River Eden
- The Great Outdoors
- Food Trails
For more information about Lowther Castle follow this link, everyone from the ‘Showcasing Eden’ event highly recommends checking it and the Eden Valley out!