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Coombs Wood, Armathwaite

Sep 21 2018, 3:13 PM

My parents live near Armathwaite so Coombs Wood is a place where I have frequently walked in the past.  For some reason though I don't seem to have been for ages.  That's a mistake I won't be repeating though - I'd forgotten what a beautiful and tranquil place to walk in it is.

Having called in to see my parents and found them out I decided to have a wander down to the woods as it was such a lovely day.  Armathwaite is a great village - with two shops, two pubs, a school, church and railway station - and half way between Penrith and Carlisle.  I parked just over the bridge where there are always a few cars parked on the very wide road and walked back onto the bridge to look up and down the River Eden.  I live near the Eden myself but we don't get the same great views of it that you get in Armathwaite.

The first bit of the walk follows the river and all is peaceful and quiet.  Then you come to the weir.  It's impossible to describe the incredible noise the water was making as it was forced over the hard dolerite sill which forms a natural weir through the otherwise sandstone riverbed.

In the background you can see the work they are doing on what used to be Armathwaite Mill.  During the first part of the twentieth century, the mill generated a small supply of electricity for the village.

Just by the river I saw this interesting piece of branch - I love the texture and patterns of it.  It looks like it's covered in a skin which has burst open in places.

If the river is low you can follow the edge of the river to some amazing sandstone carvings of faces.  I've only managed it twice and this certainly wasn't going to be one of those days.  So, the route then heads up into the wood and the whole character of the walk changes as you enter a coniferous plantation as opposed to the broadleaved woodland by the riverside.

Plantation 'rides' can be a little boring sometimes but there was a multitude of birds to listen to and try (mostly unsuccessfully) to identify.  You also get glimpses of the River Eden through the trees...

Coombs Wood was also chosen to be part of the Eden Benchmark Project which celebrates the river from source to sea.  Ten artists were chosen to create stone sculptures which reflect something about the Eden or its surrounding area.  They all form benches as well as being works of art and are all sited close to and in view of the river.  This one is called 'Vista' and was created by Graeme Mitcheson.

On his website Graeme says, "This sculpture was the ninth of ten Eden Benchmarks. Imagine someone walking along this track in Cumbria, the River Eden flowing beneath him. It is a scorching hot day so he removes his ruc-sac, his boots and his clothes and lays them down on a rock, he then goes for a paddle in the water to cool off. It is this moment in time that I have tried to capture here. I have carved these things into the stone and also incorporated some important local references. These include a sundial constructed using the angle of a strewn trouser leg and the grid reference on the map."  (See for more information on this artist.)

I remember the first time I saw this sculpture shortly after it was finished - it was a real 'wow' moment!  And it hasn't lost its ability to make me look and admire.  The wonderful thing about art in the environment is how it complements its surroundings and yet maybe makes you look a little longer or a little more differently.  I keep intending to visit all of the Benchmarks... As is always the way, I've seen several of them several times - and others not at all.  I will get round to it one day though!








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A Great Walk By Guest on Jun 26 2012 at 6:23 PM
Coombs wood is my favourite local walk and not far away from my cottage.
Dog fouling By Guest on Apr 27 2015 at 4:21 PM
Such a shame about the amount of dog dirt all along the walk (27/04/15),It has to be locals who walk their dogs up there,I passed 3 dog walkers today and not one of them was carrying the little bags?? Could have been in their pockets...But i doubt it.Or maybe their dogs did not feel the need.It is a lovely place so please try and keep it that way.

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And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils

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