Tall Georgian houses lining its streets, an attractive memorial fountain gracing the old market place and an elegant Georgian church all suggest that Wigton was a market town of some importance in days gone by, with its jumble of streets, narrow lanes and alleyways somehow earning it the nickname ‘The Throstle's Nest'.
While some well-known literary figures have passed through the town, notably Charles Dickens in 1857, one notable writer and broadcaster was actually born here; Melvin Bragg later honoured as Lord Bragg of Wigton.
Surrounding Wigton is a pastoral landscape of neat fields and hedges, dotted with the rural villages of Great Orton, Wiggonby, Aikton, Oulton, Waverton, Bolton Low Houses, Rosley and Thursby.
Farmhouse with 3 rooms, £75-£85 prpn
Holiday & Camping Park with 12 pitches, £15-£16 ptpn
Alternative Accommodation with 5 units, £100-£160 pppn sleeps 4-6 , £75-£100 pupn sleeps 4 , £75-£100 pupw sleeps 1-4
Self-catering with 1 unit, £235-£340 pupw sleeps 1-4
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Caldbeck is one of the most beautiful and peaceful of all the Lakeland villages and is ideally situated for exploring the Lake District, the Scottish Borders, the Eden Valley and the North Pennines. The village and the surrounding area have so much to offer everyone. Many of the village buildings were built in the 17th Century and are now housing new enterprises catering for visitors and locals alike. Superb walking exists within easy reach of the village catering for all levels. This together with excellent places to stay including Bed & Breakfast (B&B) and Holiday Cottage accommodation, and with numerous places to eat and drink, this really is a great place to spend some time.
Allonby & Aspatria
The ancient township of Aspatria (pronounced ‘Spi-atry' by locals) is now described as ‘milk town’. It has one of the most modern creameries in England on its doorstep, with several local outlaying farms supplying milk on a daily basis. A few miles west it the former fishing village Allonby. Allonby enjoys some beautiful far-reaching views over to Scotland and the Isle of Man. Its sand and shingle beach follows the edge of a wide crescent-shaped bay that is ideal for windsurfing and kite surfing. Behind the dunes and the ‘greens' is an assortment of grand Georgian architecture and humble fishermen's cottages, linked by narrow cobbled lanes and passageways.
Wigton’s early industries included cotton and linen manufacture, dyeing, printing and tanning. The cloth manufacturers employed hundreds of hand-loom weavers who carried out their trade in small weavers’ cottages mainly located to the east of the town centre. The area known as Tenters is named after the tenterhooks on which the finished cloth was stretched to be bleached by the sun. Wigton’s two becks supplied enough water and power to operate three corn mills, two breweries, a dye works, tannery and saw mill.
Industrial prosperity was accompanied by the building of several grand houses, the most famous of which was Highmoor House, built in 1810 by Joseph Hodge, a cotton and linen manufacturer. On his death the house passed to his business partner, William Banks, who enlarged the house and landscaped its grounds. In the 1870s, a huge tower was added in the style of an Italian campanile. It was fitted with a large bell (called ‘Big Joe’ with a range of 12 miles) and a carillon of smaller bells that played from a repertoire of ’36 tunes every three hours … and sacred music on Sundays.’ The lilting tunes could be heard for miles, even as far as Carlisle. Sadly, the tower is now silent and surrounded by a large housing estate.
Church of All Saints
Described as ‘one of the architectural sensations of Cumberland’ by Nikolaus Pevsner, this unusual building has an internal stone vaulted roof more akin to churches found in southern France than England. The immense weight of the roof is supported by two transepts and two porches. Local folklore attributed the design to the Scottish wizard, Michael Scott of Holm Cultram Abbey, who is said to have built the church in one night with the aid of his magic imps.
In the middle of Market Place is Wigton’s famous pink fountain. It was erected in 1872 in memory of Eliza Moore, wife of George Moore, a local merchant and philanthropist. The bronze reliefs, carved by Pre-Raphaelite sculptor, Thomas Woolner, depict her favourite Acts of Mercy: Visiting the Afflicted, Clothing the Naked, Instructing the Ignorant, and Feeding the Hungry.
Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue
The centre specialises in rehabilitating injured wild animals and birds before their release back to the wild. At any one time, a selection of British wildlife can be seen at close hand, from birds of prey to deer, badgers and hedgehogs. Some of the more exotic species have become permanent residents. Visitors are welcome to view the animals and see the daily work of the rescue centre.