Monks & Mysteries Walk near Wetheral
Monks & Mysteries, such an interesting name that I thought it was worth researching for our guests. I and my walking partner eventually managed to get to Wetheral to test out the walk and the instructions in the downloadable pdf that accompanies this blog.
The Cross on the Green
The walk is from the village green, and the road where the walk starts is also known as The Green. The instruction says to start at the South East corner of the Green, by the ancient stone Cross.
Once you pass the village green with the Cross on your right, you’ll see a signpost for the Priory Cross. The Gatehouse is that of the former Benedictine Priory which included a chapel and a monastic school. The priory was dissolved in 1583 and later fell into ruin. It is now an English Heritage site, remember to bring your card if you are a member.
The walk directs you to the next kissing gate after the Priory. You need to look hard as it is weathered cast iron and easily missed.
Once into Wetherall Woods, we were looking for stone steps. I think that a part of the walk has been missed out. We found some steps, but not stone, and then there was the river below. Turn right and walk about a mile before you see the stone steps to Constantine’s Caves.
St Constantine’s Cells
There are three caves, signposted from the path. The caves are hewn out of the sandstone cliff and once supposedly occupied by St Constantine, a Scottish Hermit from the 6th Century. In later years it is reported that the caves were used by monks as storage for grain and later as a refuge in time of danger. It is an amazing location, overlooking the river, not very comfortable these days. although there is a fireplace.
Corby Castle and the Flight of Fancy
The walk back from the St Constantine’s Cells to the viaduct is along the banks of the Eden. The section of the bank across from Corby Castle is very pretty, there is even a small beach. We found this a great spot to have a break and a snack. This is the best spot to admire the cascade on the opposite river bank.
The Flight of Fancy
This sculpture is one of ten seats along the River Eden commissioned to celebrate the millennium. Tim Shutter made it in 1999.
Great Corby-Wetheral Viaduct
Sadly it is not possible to get to the viaduct without taking a slight detour. However, it is well worth the 99 steps to use the footbridge to get to Great Corby on the other side of the river. Here we found the instructions to be of little use. We suggest an amended route below.
The Queen Inn at Great Corby is worth a visit. To get there, cross the river using the footbridge, follow the path along the railway track, cross at the level cross and carry on straight ahead until you reach the Queen Inn.
From this point retrace your steps back to Wetherall. There are no more steps unless, you are like the man we met training on the viaduct steps, who was already on his 12th ascent!
We thoroughly enjoyed this walk on a typical Cumbrian Spring day, cloudy and mild. We recommend walking boots, as the path is uneven underfoot in places and trainers will not offer the support or grip you’ll need.