Boat trips, Market, Mill (wind and water), Museum, National Trust, News, North West England, Places, Roman, Victorian, Walking route

Visit Bridge House at Stock Beck in Ambleside; a most curious relic

Zefferellis cinema Ambleside High Street © Dave Willis and
Zefferellis cinema Ambleside High Street © Dave Willis and

Ambleside has rich history and heritage. Every year, visitors flood into Ambleside to photograph, paint, sketch and just to enjoy seeing Bridge House for themselves. A C17thbuilding, the house has had many uses over its long lifetime and is one of the smallest in Britain. The house was built by the Braithwaite family who needed it to store their apple harvest from their orchards which surround the house.

Ambleside Museum houses many Beatrix Potter artefacts including some of her original watercolours.

The Roman Fort at Ambleside

The fort, which dates from the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (AD117-138), is still visible today. It was one of many, a network which enabled the Romans to control and administer the locality. A high level route across the Ullswater fells, known as High Street, links Ambleside to the fort at Brougham. Another route along the Wrynose and Hardknott passes links it to the fort at Ravenglass.

Lake Windermere may have provided a means of transporting heavy goods and soldiers which avoided the fells. The area around the fort was possibly a civilian area with traders and people providing goods and services to the Roman army. It may have been Clanoventa which means market by the clear water. Download the National Trust guide to the fort.

The modern town

Ambleside is in the middle of the Lakes and at the head of the beautiful Lake Windermere, England’s largest water. Surrounded by beautiful sights, this is a busy market town and a centre for walkers and climbers. The town is an ideal centre for a walking holiday with boat trips on the lake.


Stockghyll Force is a short walk from the town centre, it is a beautiful 70 foot waterfall and a stunning natural attraction. A Ghyll or Gill is old Norse word for narrow water-filled ravine. Stockghyll Force, formed by a tributary of the River Rothay, runs into the lake. Approach the falls are  along a footpath through Nelly Close Wood. The water used to turn the wheels of the many mills in the town. The mills ground flour but also made bobbins for silk and for the Lancashire cotton mills. When plastic replaced the wooden bobbins, the mills  became houses.

Discover a range of nearby walks with maps and directions.

Literary connections

Keats once visited the town and stayed here and visited his friend Wordsworth who lived nearby. Keats stayed at The Salutation Hotel in Lake Street and explored Stockghyll and wrote of it in his journal. William Wordsworth worked in Ambleside at The Old Stamp House from 1813-43 when he was Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland. The Salutation, a favourite for writers and Alfred, Lord Tennyson once also stayed there. Novelist and journalist, Harriet Martineau, lived at Ambleside in the Knoll, which she built. Wordsworth helped with the garden landscaping, planting pine trees and helping to select an inscription for the sundial. Martineau’s campaign for housing led to the establishment of the first building society in the north of England.

If you have visited Ambleside why not tell us about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* 2+8=?