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Appleby - in the Eden Valley.

Appleby in the Eden Valley. Cumbria and the Lake District.

History Location Accommodation

Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Appleby. The ancient town of Appleby straddles the River Eden in the middle of the beautiful Eden Valley: it is one of the most pleasant towns in the county and therefore in Britain.

Appleby is distinguished by its much admired Boroughgate, a charming street in the centre of the west side of the town, it is unusually wide and lined with mature trees in front of attractive old houses.

At the top of Boroughgate is the castle and at the bottom the main shopping area, which has been the market since 1174.

Appleby is not only worth visiting for its chocolate box appearance, there is much to do and see in the area.

The shopping is not on the same scale as that of Penrith or Kendal but you will find temptations among the lanes.

In the surrounding countryside of the Eden Valley, you will find many picturesque villages to explore. In addition there are a great many walks to enjoy.

Appleby in the Eden Valley. Cumbria and the Lake District.

If you take your walking seriously you could drive to the village of Dufton and climb the steep slopes of the imposing Pennines that dominate Appleby's eastern horizon.

To the west of the town are the magnificent Lake District fells and mountains famed the world over for their beauty.

Appleby also hosts the most famous horse fair in Great Britain, Appleby New Fair, (Don't let the 'New' fool you, in fact it dates back to 1685 when King James II granted the town its second Charter).

Appleby: a short history: top

This Royal patronage hints at Appleby's past. For many centuries it was the county town of Westmorland and at one time boasted two Members of Parliament. Appleby has its beginnings with the Celts, Romans and Vikings.

Ranulph de Meschines was given the town by King William II around 1092 and it was Ranulph who is mainly responsible for the town's development as a centre for trade and the administration of the surrounding area.

Appleby in the Eden Valley. Cumbria and the Lake District.

It was Ranulph who was responsible for the castle also establishing fortifications at Brough to the south and Brougham to the north near Penrith. Both those castles were built next to former Roman Forts.

Appleby's importance further increased when the town was made into a Royal Borough and shortly after granted a Charter, all this in the late C12th.

The Scots regarded Appleby as a rich prize when they carried out their frequent raids. The town was almost destroyed when towards the end of the 1300s the Scots launched a savage raid into Cumbria.

Just under three hundred years later after the end of the English Civil War, around 1650-60 the remarkable Lady Anne Clifford began her great work of restoring her estate. Appleby benefited hugely from this inspired undertaking.

Rebuilding work began on the castle and an almshouse was built to house the poor women and widows of the town: it still stands and you can walk into the courtyard.

Lady Anne and her mother are buried in the fine church of St Lawrence at the bottom of Boroughgate and her tomb is of very good quality.

You should visit The Moot Hall, a fine old building in Boroughgate and home to the town council, it dates from 1596.

Appleby's east side over the River Eden is known as the Sands and is in fact older than the west. There are numerous buildings of interest and here also you will find the railway station.

Appleby has another attribute, it is on the famed Settle and Carlisle railway line, which passes through truly spectacular countryside and is popular to the extent that the 'Orient Express' has traveled the line.

Appleby is a charming town and should be high on your list of places to visit.

Appleby: OS ref NY 685205 Sheet 91. Get the map.

Map of Appleby