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The Estate

Like any country house, Mirehouse cannot be considered apart from the estate that is linked with it.

A number of local fells, Ullock Pike, Dodd, Latrigg and Lonscale Fell form part of the estate as well as the lovely Brundholme Woods in the Greta valley. The south end of Bassenthwaite Lake is an important conservation area, home for all or part of the year to a wide range of birds. Most famously, Ospreys have returned to nest in this valley: the first in England for one hundred and fifty years.

All the farms are in the Lake District Environmentally Sensitive Area. This means that schemes of work must be agreed with the National Park Authority and other government bodies. Sites of Special Scientific Interest cover one thousand acres of the estate. These are subject to even more stringent controls.

All the farms are let, but the woodlands are managed by the owner. To him falls the often difficult task of balancing the need to grow good commercial timber as a viable business with the duty of any owner of land in a National Park to conserve and enhance the landscape for which he is responsible and the wildlife that inhabits it.

One of the new Jubilee Woods listed by the Woodland Trust to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is sited at Burnt Horse on the lower craggy slopes of Lonscale Fell. Part of Mirehouse Estate, this wood is planted mainly with Juniper, some Sessile Oak, Rowan and Hawthorn. On the site are a few elderly Juniper and the remains of an ancient Lake District Oak Wood. So the "new" Wood is truly a restoration.

Subcategories

  • Walks

    Walking through the gardens and woods at Mirehouse is a chance to experience the stunning landscape of the North Lake District at it’s best. Close to the house and in the Bee Garden paths are gravelled.

    Further afield, stout shoes or boots are advisable as some paths can be muddy, particularly after heavy rain. Muddy or not, the paths enable you to enjoy a natural landscape with many fine views of the surrounding fells and of Bassenthwaite lake.

    There is always the possibility, too, of seeing wildlife as you walk round. roe deer, foxes, red squirrels and many bird species have been seen in the grounds.

  • Adventure Play

    The grounds at Mirehouse are home to adventure playgrounds which are set amidst the trees and shrubs on either side of the main drive.

    Children today relish a change from the computer and television screen and enjoy the natural fun they find here just as much as children in the past have done.

    After visiting the four woodland playgrounds, children will get the chance to burn off any excess energy at the heather path maze in the Bee Garden adjacent to the main drive. This maze is suitable for wheelchairs and is based on the design of the famous turf mazes by the Solway.

    On following signs for the Poetry Walk, children and adults alike will pass through a rhododendron tunnel at the lower terraces of the garden at Mirehouse known as "Canada". These terraces behind Mirehouse also house a snuff garden and simple wooden structures made by local artists.

    The Family Nature trail is free with admission . This trail is a walk of about half a mile and goes through the woods and gardens at Mirehouse helping children to keep a look out for red squirrels, rabbits and a variety of trees and plants.

  • Gardens

    Forty years ago, when the present owner's father inherited Mirehouse, much of the garden was overgrown. Mirehouse had become something of a 'Sleeping Beauty' unknown even to people living in Keswick.

    Today the gardens, once described as a "civil wilderness" by a visiting poet, are a tribute to the work gone on over the years to accentuate their stunning setting at Mirehouse. The work of restoration continues along with the change and development which are in the nature of any garden.

    ‚ÄčThe long history of this garden is clear when we realise that the huge Scots Pines beside the drive were planted in 1784. Beneath them is a collection of Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas planted over the last hundred years.

    From the cover of the wood we emerge into the spacious, sheltered Bee Garden. In the mid 1990s extensive restoration took place. Bee hives were set up in a sheltered corner. An orchard of traditional Cumbrian fruit trees was planted, a heather path maze was made, based on the design of the famous turf mazes by the Solway.

    In front of the House is a rare ancient wildflower meadow with forty three species of plants. Behind the house are terraced lawns and the Canada garden which houses a rhododendron tunnel, a snuff garden and simple wooden structures.

    A circular walk of about a mile goes through the parkland from the house, through woods, along the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake and back to the entrance.