The Area Around Challan Hall
The Lune Valley - between the picturesque town of Kirkby Lonsdale and the historic city of Lancaster - is an area of outstanding natural beauty, where the River Lune meanders between ancient villages, historic churches and winding lanes with sweeping views of the Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire Dales.
Levens Hall dates back to the 1590s. Now it is one of the finest stately homes in south Cumbria, containing furniture, paintings, one of the best examples in Europe of Spanish leather wall coverings, the earliest English patchwork, Wellingtoniana, clocks and miniatures. A major attraction are the Topiary Gardens, which were laid out in 1694. The Hall is close to Milnthorpe and has a lovely tearoom.
The Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve is one of the few remaining places in the country where the rare Bittern and Bearded Tit are resident, and other 'twitchers' favourites, like the Osprey, are often seen. Otters also breed here and can often be seen at dusk playing in the silvery meres. In recent years, the marshes surrounding Lake Hawes Water (which Challan Hall overlooks) have been the home of nesting Marsh Harriers, and booming Bitterns can often be heard.
The immediate locality of Challan Hall is a nature lover's paradise. The area is noted for the beauty of its landscape, with luxuriant woodlands, limestone cliffs and 'pavements' with many rare plants, trees and wildlife, for example, the UK's rarest plant, The Lady's Slipper Orchid. Within this relatively small area are some of the highest concentrations of high quality woodland path walks in England and undoubtedly the most beautiful coastal scenery in the North West. From the local high points are superb views of distant hills, particularly over the bay towards the Cumbrian mountains.
Gait Barrows Nature Reserve, surrounding the house, was established in 1977 principally to protect one of the most important areas of limestone pavement in Britain, which is of exceptional botanical interest. The reserve now includes Lake Hawes Water which is interesting for several reasons.
Enjoy the walk from Challan Hall to Jenny Brown's Point - the ideal spot to get a panoramic view of Morecambe Bay. Continue along wonderful coastal paths which take you from Silverdale to Arnside, with amazing sunsets. On the reed beds fed by the Morecambe Bay tide watch the masses of migrating birds. In the autumn vast swathes of starlings can be seen at dusk creating the most incredible - almost mercurial - pictures in the sky. Care needs to taken when walking on the Morecambe Bay Sands. Frequent guided walks across the sands are led by Cedric Robinson 'The Queen's Guide to the Sands', who was appointed the 25th Guide of the Sands by the Queen in 2009.
Click on the link below to see a map of the area illustrating the proximity of Challan Hall, Siverdale to these places of special interest.
For further details about the Silverdale area see www.visitlancashire.com.
For more things to do in the area, please see our Activities page.
Arnside and Silverdale have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.