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The Buttermere Valley is a picture postcard of blue ribbon lakes, Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater, ‘knotted' together at the small villages of Buttermere and Loweswater, like ‘a string of pearls each connected to the next'. Between these lakes, flat verdant fields radiate outwards until contained by the encircling buttresses of Red Pike, High Stile, Fleetwith Pike, Robinson, Whiteless Pike, Grasmoor and Melbreak.

The tiny village of Buttermere comprises two inns, a few farms, a small chapel and some isolated houses - its name meaning ‘lake by the dairy pastures'. A scattering of farms and houses make up Loweswater, a community held together by the twin magnets of its church and adjacent hostelry. The traditional character of Buttermere and Loweswater is largely due to The National Trust, which owns much of the land and preserves its special qualities. The only vehicular access into this valley is from Cockermouth to the north or via the snaking passes over Honister and Newlands Hause.

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Things to do

What's on

 June 2020>
There are a variety of events taking place in Buttermere and the surrounding areas over the year. Why dont you check out the calendar and see what's on while you're here?

For events happening around the county, click below for our What's On page.


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Surrounding Areas

Ennerdale Water

Culture and Heritage

Honister Slate Mine
Huge glaciers gouged out tons of material to form the classic U-shaped valley and ribbon lakes that are evident today. Buttermere and Crummock Water may once have formed one long lake until fluvial deposits from Sour Milk Gill and Sail Beck silted up the central section and created the rich grazing pastures that first attracted human settlement into the area. Early settlers colonised land near the lakes. Ancient remains can be found at Lanthwaite Green and at the northern end of Melbreak. A pele tower once looked out over Crummock Water (its earthworks still visible on the ground), while the small medieval hamlet and chapel at Rannerdale has all but disappeared. This hidden valley is believed to have been a seat of resistance against the Norman conquerors and witnessed one of the last battles against the invaders, but is now better known for its spectacular display of bluebells in the spring.
Historically, it was cows rather than sheep that were the dominant grazing animals. Gatesgarth Farm, at the foot of Fleetwith Pike, was once a medieval ‘vaccary' or dairy farm. Nowadays, it is one of the largest sheep farms in the area, raising flocks of Herdwicks and Swaledales on the vast acres of common land. Barley, oats and corn were also grown in the valley, with a corn mill (now the Bridge Hotel, Buttermere) crushing the grain to make flour.
The discovery of bands of attractive green slate at Honister opened up a new source of income for the local inhabitants. Unusually, the slate at Honister was mined from within the mountain (as well as opencast quarried), and to such an extent that Fleetwith Pike is honeycombed with old workings accessed at different levels and linked by vertical shafts. Honister was mined up to 1986 and, after a period of inactivity, re-opened in 1997. The mine has since become an award-winning tourist attraction in its own right, offering guided excursions into the subterranean mine workings and the option of an exhilarating Via Ferrata following the old miners' route to work.

Adventure & Outdoor Activities

And so the adventure begins. Add some thrills to your holiday by fully experiencing everything Cumbria has to offer. Walk, run, climb, swim, get muddy, have fun!

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