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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.

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.

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.

The present owner's father came here in 1961 and found the house in a poor condition. Since then many repairs have been made to both contents and structure including tackling two severe outbreaks of dry rot.

In 1981 the decision was made to open the ground floor of the house to the public.

Besides an interesting collection of furniture and portraits there is a very unusual display of manuscripts. These include James Spedding's collection of Francis Bacon's works as well as letters from Wordsworth, Tennyson, Southey, Thomas Carlyle and John Constable: all friends of the family.

Visitors often say 'We could live here.' The live piano music contributes to the relaxed atmosphere. Children are actively welcomed. There is an owl hunt for the younger ones, a history quiz for the slightly older and many things for them to find and do. Many children return again and again. Members of the family are usually here to welcome and help look after visitors.

Until the middle of the last century it was lived in by one large household. Now the house and surrounding buildings have been adapted for several households so Mirehouse remains home to a substantial number of people.

The Earl of Derby built the present house in 1666. It has only been sold once, when he parted with it in 1688 to Roger Gregg. Since then it has passed by inheritance. It has been altered by succeeding generations for their own convenience.