The River Ehen

The River Ehen

The River Ehen is located at Wath Brow. Locally, it is known as Hen Beck. The River Ehen supports the largest freshwater pearl mussel population in England. This may be the last sustainable breeding population.

Exceptionally high densities (greater than 100 m2) are found at some locations, with population estimates for the entire river exceeding 100,000. The conservation importance of the site is further enhanced by the presence of juvenile pearl mussels.

The freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) is an extremely long-lived species of mollusc (a 134 year old mussel was found in Estonia in 1993), found in fast flowing rivers and streams across Europe. The pearl mussel produces small, beautiful pearls inside its thick shell which is anchored to the riverbed. However, freshwater pearl mussels are subject to increasing pressure, and their populations across Europe are listed as threatened by the IUCN due to habitat loss, declining water quality and illegal harvesting to provide pearls for jewellery.

The river Ehen was designated a Special Area of Conservation in 2005. The section of the coast into which it flows was designated as the Cumbria Coast Marine Conservation Zone in 2013.

The River Ehen
The River Ehen
Looking towards Cleator Moor

Week In Focus #48

This is #48 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This weeks photo looks over the West Cumbria town of Cleator Moor, towards the fells of Ennerdale.
Looking towards Cleator Moor
Looking towards Cleator Moor

Week In Focus #47

This is #47 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This weeks photo is of a typical West Cumbrian street – this is Trumpet Terrace, at Cleator.

Trumpet Terrace stretches for at least a quarter of a mile. These were built by eminent mine owner, John Stirling, who was responsible for many other public buildings in the area. The name is borrowed from a field name of adjacent farms.

Trumpet Terrace
Trumpet Terrace

For more images from this shoot, please visit Little Ireland.

Week In Focus #46

This is #46 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a Victorian Verandah at Cleator Moor in West Cumbria.

The veranda outside of the former Co-op at Cleator Moor is an interesting feature and much loved by the locals. The Victorian Veranda was added to the Co-operative building in 1876. The verandah is glazed, carried on 13 cast-iron fluted Gothic columns with pierced spandrels and antefixe.

The verandah was restored 1984.

The building itself is topped with welsh roof, with stone coping to south end; brick mid and end chimneys. It has 3 storeys, 13 bays. The ground floor has a C20 shop front divided by original fluted and panelled pilasters carrying cornice on which verandah rests. Sashes without glazing bars in stone surrounds to upper floors.

Cleator Moor Victorian Verandah

Week In Focus #45

This is #45 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of Carlisle Castle.

Carlisle Castle is situated in Carlisle, in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. Today the castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. The castle until recently was the administrative headquarters of the former King’s Own Royal Border Regiment now county headquarters to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and a museum to the regiment is within the castle walls.

  • I do apologise for the delay in providing this week’s photo. I’ve been incredibly busy with a project that I’ve been working on. I’ll update you on that later on next week. It’s worth the wait!
Carlisle Castle
Looking out, from within
Big guns protected the castle from marauding Scots
Barracks of The Kings Own Border Regiment
Quivers required
Leading to the Battlements
Inner Gatehouse
Fabulous Portcullis
Whitehaven Golf Course

Week In Focus #44

This is #44 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of Whitehaven Golf Course.

The course was founded in the year 2000. It is a challenging course with many varied holes. Coupled with the spectacular views of Ennerdale and the surrounding fells. The course is 6246 yards, and features 9 ponds and 3 woodland areas.

For more information on playing a round, please visit:

Whitehaven Golf Course
Whitehaven Golf Course
The Fawn Cross

The Fawn Cross

On Jacktrees Road, between Cleator and Cleator Moor, and near the long gone south level crossing, there formerly stood a farmhouse, which collapsed years ago owing to the subsidence of the ground. There, the ancient Fawn Cross stood. It too plunged to the depths, but was recovered following an excavation. Despite the cross crashing down, it was found to be in remarkable condition.

The cross is of red sandstone, cut with a broad chisel, and of good workmanship. The head measures 19 inches across the arms, all three limbs expanding slightly and chamfered on their edges, with a small cockspur at the outer end of each chamfer. The ends are plain, flat, and un-chamfered, and the intersection of the arms is filled by a plain shield in relief on one of the faces. The shaft is broken short.

The Fawn Cross is believed to be medieval in nature, and perhaps pinpointed the direction of a local corpse road, for when a body was being taken to St. Bees for interment.

  • The Fawn Cross can now be found in the gardens of the Ennerdale Country House Hotel in Cleator.
  • Fawn Cross is a corruption of Fallen Cross.
  • Crossfield may take its name from the cross. It is believed the cross originated there.
The Fawn Cross
The Fawn Cross
Grass With Blue Sky

Week In Focus #43

This is #43 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of grass.

Weak, slender blades of tender green,
With little fragrance, little sheen,
What maketh ye so dear to all?
Nor bud, nor flower, nor fruit have ye,
So tiny, it can only be
‘Mongst fairies ye are counted tall.

No beauty is in this,— ah, yea,
E’en as I gaze on you to-day,
Your hue and fragrance bear me back
Into the green, wide fields of old,
With clear, blue air, and manifold
Bright buds and flowers in blossoming track.

All bent one way like flickering flame,
Each blade caught sunlight as it came,
Then rising, saddened into shade;
A changeful, wavy, harmless sea,
Whose billows none could bitterly
Reproach with wrecks that they had made.

No gold ever was buried there
More rich, more precious, or more fair
Than buttercups with yellow gloss.
No ships of mighty forest trees
E’er foundered in these guiltless seas
Of grassy waves and tender moss.

Ah, no! ah, no! not guiltless still,
Green waves on meadow and on hill,
Not wholly innocent are ye;
For what dead hopes and loves, what graves,
Lie underneath your placid waves,
While breezes kiss them lovingly!

Calm sleepers with sealed eyes lie there;
They see not, neither feel nor care
If over them the grass be green.
And some sleep here who ne’er knew rest,
Until the grass grew o’er their breast,
And stilled the aching pain within.

Not all the sorrow man hath known,
Not all the evil he hath done,
Have ever cast thereon a stain.
It groweth green and fresh and light,
As in the olden garden bright,
Beneath the feet of Eve and Cain.

It flutters, bows, and bends, and quivers,
And creeps through forests and by rivers,
Each blade with dewy brightness wet,
So soft, so quiet, and so fair,
We almost dream of sleeping there,
Without or sorrow or regret.

Emma Lazarus
Grass With Blue Sky
Grass
Kissing Gate

The Kissing Gate

A kissing gate is a type of gate that allows people, but not livestock, to pass through. The normal construction is a half-round, rectangular, trapezoidal or V-shaped part-enclosure with the free end of a hinged gate trapped between its arms.

When the gate is touching an arm it must be pulled or pushed to pass through. The gate may need to be pushed to give access to the small enclosure, and when in the enclosure the person pulls the gate past the bulk of the enclosure to exit. Some examples have latches. Most are installed self-closing, to the side away from the pasture (livestock field), by hinge geometry, a spring or weight.

The name comes from the gate merely “kissing” (touching) the inside of the enclosure. It reliably forms a barrier rather than needing to be securely latched on each use. Examples, as with stiles, on footpaths published as accessible are those replaced, improved or supplemented by gates.

Wooden 'V-Shape' Kissing Gate
Wooden ‘V-Shape’ Kissing Gate