Reaching the bridge, the riders dismounted and tethered their Welsh cobs and Gipsy cobs to graze as close to the beck as a stout barbed wire fence allowed. Walkers sat on the parapet, eating lunch. The little boy paddled in Severals Gill and I chatted to the riders about their cobs and their destination . Leisure August 2015, nothing but leisure and diverse takes on a good day out in the countryside. Anyone for the Coast to Coast route via Smardale Fell? What is this place: now and in the past? .
Smardale Gill is a National Nature Reserve and Scandal Beck is an SSSI in the River Eden catchment. Left of the bridge is a gap in the wall, and beyond is the disused sandstone quarry where stone for the Smardale Gill Viaduct was quarried. Before the railway was built pack-horses must have converged here to graze, to drink, to rest. Whilst the men found refreshment in the pub, now lost in remnants of walls about the bridge. Look at the map and you can infer the bustle and activity formerly in this landscape: Dismantled Railway now a track through the Nature Reserve, Quarries (dis) the bridge is a confluence of quarries (dis), tips ( dis) . Imagine the noise when they were all active, when the railway was being built. Pillow Mounds and Settlements are mapped in script that tells of antiquity.
You have to return again and again, in all weathers, through the seasons and over the years to appreciate Smardale and the surrounding landscape.
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