Great Salkeld is a small village and civil parish in Eden District, Cumbria, England, a few miles to the north east of Penrith. It has a population of about 400 people. Eden is an area bordered by the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Pennine Hills. Village Coordinates: 54°43N 2°42W
This part of the Eden Valley village has long been known for its rural peace, beauty and wildlife as well as friendly people. The Eden River flows under the Pennines and its valley is a delightful corner of England boasting unspoilt and lovely scenery. The village sits a little above the river Eden to its west. Local wildlife includes buzzards, red squirrels, deer, king fishers and, if you are very lucky, a glimpse of an otter.
Lazonby is just 2 miles northwest. The nearest shop is here and in recent years has been expanded. Lazonby is also the closest railway station and is a stop on the popular scenic Settle to Carlisle line, with trains to Carlisle in half an hour or to Leeds in just two and a half hours. The line passes through beautiful and remote areas of the Yorkshire Dales. Just south of Great Salkeld is the village of Eden Hall, and the busy market town of Penrith is 5 miles away.
The village is believed to have been connected at one time by a bridge over the River Eden to Little Salkeld. In the Middle Ages, the village was sometimes referred to in documents as Salkeld Regis as it was at times the property of the Crown.
The villages amenities are few but include an award-winning pub. The Highland Drove is a ‘Real Country Pub’ and home to the original Kyloes Restaurant which continues to provide one of the best dining experiences in Cumbria.
A play area in the old school field offers a family-friendly area with plenty of play equipment and space for games.
Primarily a rural and farming area the village is also close to some well-known businesses. Quality red sandstone is the bedrock of the landscape and is quarried nearby. The world famous Village Bakery is just a few miles away at Melmerby, while Bells of Lazonby produce high quality bread and confectionery and Cranstons’ offer local quality meat. Over the river Little Salkeld Watermill is one of the country’s few working waterpowered corn mills still producing stoneground flour in the traditional way.
The Norman church of St Cuthberts is right at the centre of Great Salkeld. There has probably been a Church here since 880 AD, when the body of St Cuthbert was rested here after being brought from Holy Island. Rebuilding of St Cuthbert’s Church took place in 1080, and the Pele Tower was added in 1380. Remnants of a Roman altar can be seen in the church. This is one of three churches in Cumbria with a defensive pele tower (the others are at Newton Arlosh and Burgh-by-Sands).
The primary school has recently closed despite a rigorous campaign to save it. Local children now mostly attend the primary school at Lazonby.
The parish of Great Salkeld includes the hamlets of Salkeld Dykes (which is divided into North and South Dykes), Halfwaywell, Inglewood Bank and Burrell Green.
Predominantly the buildings in the village are of local warm red sandstone, especially the older ones.
The largest house in the parish is Nunwick Hall which gives its name to the local cricket team.
Just across the River Eden is Long Meg and Her Daughters; the third largest stone circle in Enlgand. The stones are associated with many legends, and have been the source of superstition for centuries.
All images © Fiona Exon