We arrived back in Sedbergh after our walk up to the Calf just before 4 o’clock ready for a refreshing brew (and, possibly a cake!). While we were loading our rucksacks into the boot of the car a couple of coaches drove into the car park.. We’d better be quick, I thought, or we’ll not get in the cafés if we have to compete with 80 so day trippers.
We found a small café in the main street. The Three Hares turned out to be a good choice. It was very pleasant, a little quirky and the tea and cakes were very good – and good value – I queried the bill as I thought they’d undercharged us, but they hadn’t. Their lunch menu looked interesting and they serve evening meals on Friday and Saturdays with a changeable, imaginative menu. Worth a try if we’re down that way over the weekend I think.
It was a good job we got there quickly as there weren’t many tables and those that were free after we had placed our order soon filled up. After that there was a procession of people trying to find a seat or looking in the window and walking past. We found out later that it was the only café open in the town. There were others, but they were all shut. At least one of them only being open 3 days a week.
(Two cafés – both closed)
After finishing our brew we went for a wander around the small town. There were a number of interesting looking shops but they were all shutting up. They all seemed to only open at 10 and shut at 4:30. Even the tourist office shut at 4. There were a lot of disappointed looking day trippers wandering around the streets and sitting on benches waiting for time to leave! It was a good job it wasn’t raining.
Although today Sedbergh, which is only a few miles from Kendal, is in Cumbria, until 1974 it was in the West Riding of Yorkshire. That explains why it is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Historically, other than agriculture, the main industry was the production of woollen garments. Knitted clothing, including hats and socks was produced in workers’ own homes from yarn produced in nearby woollen mills, and then were sold on by local merchants . That industry is long gone. Today, the main employer is the public school which dominates the south end of the village.
It’s a small town which very much feels that it’s been left behind by the 21st Century. We were able to walk around almost all of it in about 20 minutes.
The parish church dedicated to St Andrew dates from the 12th century, although, like many old churches it has been restored over the years. We didn’t have chance to have a look inside.
The buildings were predominantly stone cottages, many of them clearly quite old.
Like Kendal many of the older dwellings are clustered in “yards” – narrow lanes off the main street, running more or less perpendicular to it.
The buildings here were both places to live and to work. This is a very typical example of an old worker’s cottage in, appropriately enough, Weaver’s Yard
Never buildings at the north end of town which we passed on our way to and from the fells were also built in stone
or with vernacular features, like the porch on this more modern house
Sedbergh calls itself England’s official Book Town inspired by Hay on Wyre. There are a small number of dedicated book shops, but most other types of shops also had a selection of second hand books on sale.
All in all a very pleasant, attractive little town and it would be worth spending some more time there. It would be a good base for exploring the area and the fells and hills in the vicinity. And it would be interesting to have a mooch around the shops – providing we visited after 10 and before 4 or 4:30 on a day when they’re open!