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Grid Ref: NY 157257

The Vale of Lorton is a sequence of valleys leading from Cockermouth towards Keswick.

The Lorton Valley, looking towards Grasmoor and Melbreak from Cockermouth.

Same view from ground level.

In one of the lushest, prettiest parts of the Northern Lakes, the valley contains the lakes Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere. At the end of the valley you can get to Keswick via Honister Pass and Borrowdale.

There are many excellent walks in this area, including to the waterfall at Scale Force.

In the village of Lorton is St Cuthbert’s Church, which is worth visiting. Lorton Hall consists of a 1663 living range attached to a pele tower. It is not open to the public, but can just be glimpsed over the wall surrounding it.

Low Lorton, with Lorton Hall centre, St Cuthbert’s Church on the right,
and the River Cocker on the left.

Lorton Hall, with its ancient pele tower.

The Wordsworth Yew, in Lorton Village

Also in the village behind the site of the original Jennings’ Brewery, is “Wordsworth’s Yew Tree”. The Lorton Yew, which featured in a BBC program about Fascinating Trees, was immortalised in a poem by William Wordsworth, “Yew Trees”. Not long after the poem was written, the tree, which had a 27 foot girth, was reduced to a mere 13 foot by a storm. The tree is however, still standing, and shows little sign of the storm damage to the trunk. It grows on the bank of Hope Beck, behind the Village Hall. The Cockermouth Mayor’s Chair is made from the wood of the broken half of the tree. The tree is at least 1000 years old.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached here under the yew tree, between 1752 and 1761. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, also preached here to a large crowd that included soldiers from Cromwell’s army.

Looking from the top of Grasmoor
towards the Lorton valley and Loweswater

Lorton Vale and the foot of Loweswater from Carling Knott.
Photo by Ann Bowker, 9 Nov 2005

The foot of Loweswater and the Lorton Vale, the foot of Crummock Water with Whiteside and Grasmoor beyond,
then Melbreak and Hen Comb, from Carling Knott. Photo by Ann Bowker, 9 Nov 2005

Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham.

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