Close cookies panel

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience.

If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website.

Merlewood

Cumbria, England

The Bowder Stone in Cumbria

Posted by Luci Ackers on Nov 02, 2016
The Bowder Stone in Cumbria

Image: Rob Farrow via Wikimedia Commons

The Lake District is full of hidden nooks and crannies waiting to be explored.

This iconic National Park in northern England is admired for its beauty and incredible scenery. Formed over the course of millions of years by slow glacial processes, the Lake District is home to a dramatic series of peaks and fells, lakes and tarns that have been carved out of the landscape. This makes it a stunning place to explore by foot.

There's so much to see!

Perhaps you've visited all of the obvious places and you're looking for something a little different next? Well the Lake District is full of them so you're in luck!

One fascinating geological must-see is the Bowder Stone. Located just to the south of Derwentwater in the Jaws of Borrowdale (which is a very large gorge between King's How and Castle Crag), is the curious Bowder Stone...

Image: Stephen Darlington, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

What is it?

Established as a tourist attraction in the late 1800s, the Bowder Stone is a huge rock that still attracts visitors from far and wide. Why? Because it is such an interesting sight. This massive boulder is precariously balanced on one edge and looks suspiciously as though it may topple over at any moment.

This is, of course, not the case and back in 1798 Joseph Pocklington decided instead to built a ladder leading up to its summit so that visitors could climb to the top. A staircase has been in place there ever since.

The rock is of volcanic composition and estimated to weigh about 2000 tons! It's thought to have been here for more than 10,000 years. Though it has always drawn attention, it wasn't until Pocklington took the first measures to make it into a tourist attraction that it became so popular. He bought the surrounding land, fenced areas off and built additional attractions on the site in order to encourage more people.

Image: via Wikimedia Commons

The Bowder Stone as an attraction

In the 1960s the National Trust bought the site and it has been in their care ever since. The little cottage and chapel that Pocklinton had built as additional attractions were restored as bothies for climbers visiting the area. A car park was also put in place a 15 minute walk from the boulder, and the site is equidistant from the towns of Grange and Rosthwaite, both about a mile away, where you'll find cafés and facilities.

To find the Bowder Stone car park, use the post code CA12 5XA in your SatNav. Follow the special pathway to the stone.

The surrounding Borrowdale valley is exceptional for walks, so if you want to incorporate your trip to the Bowder Stone into a longer route, you'll have plenty to choose from. You could attempt the ascent up King's How.

Alternatively there are more walking routes in Borrowdale, along with more information about things to see and do on the National Trust website.

So how did the Bowder Stone get here?

Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to this question. It has been argued that the explanation may lie in the glacial movements that helped form this area of the country. Perhaps the huge rock was transported and deposited by melting glaciers? Others argue the more likely explanation is that this is just one fragment from a rockfall that took place. In this case the Bowder stone was dislodged from 200m above on Bowder Crag and came crashing down the cliff to land with immense force at the bottom, where it still sits today. This would explain the perilous position!

Either way it is certainly worth a look while you're walking in the area!

And... Why is it called that?

The name is unusual and again, we're not 100% sure of its origin. Either it's a carry-over from a dialectical form of 'boulder'. Or it is a derivation of the name of Norse god Baldr, son of Odin. (Early descriptions and even early photographs seem to depict a face in the stone).

In the 16th century German miners were bought across to help with copper mining in the Lake District. A number of them settled in nearby Keswick and 'Baldr' may have come with them.

Many of the valleys and Lakes in the National Park have Nordic names or origins. The Norse arrived in Cumbria in the 10th century, so it's even possible that 'Baldr' predates the modern era!

See it for yourself

Find out how to stay in the Lake District for yourself and visit all of these weird and wonderful places. Simply pop your details in at the bottom of the page and receive a free brochure.

FIND OUT HOW YOU TOO CAN STAY HERE
Share this post:
Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


0 Comments related to this article
Submit a Comment
Cancel Reply
Name *  
Email address *    
Comment *  
Submit Comment

All comments will be moderated before being displayed

How do I find out more?
Request our beautifully illustrated brochure

Merlewood is part of the Holiday Property Bond's growing portfolio of outstanding holiday properties throughout the UK and Europe, imaginatively created over 32 years to combine "home from home" comfort with total relaxation. Currently the portfolio features 35 holiday developments, all in stunningly beautiful locations across 13 countries, with over 1,400 individual villas, apartments and cottages.

For a summary of how HPB can give you and your family a lifetime of wonderful holidays and the risks as well as the benefits of an investment please read "Important Information" below.

Then we would be delighted to send you our brochure, including our property portfolio, along with our full length DVD introduced by Bondholder Sue Barker and a list of forthcoming Open Days and Exhibitions. Please just complete and submit this form or telephone our FREE brochure line on 0800 230 0391.

Request a brochure
Title *  
First Name *  
Surname *  
Email address  
Postcode *  
Telephone number
How did you hear about us?
I confirm I have read and understood your data policy.
SUBMIT
* Indicates required fields

AS FEATURED IN The Telegraph BBC Daily Mail The Sunday Times

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
This advertisement is issued by HPBM registered at HPB House, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8EH. HPBM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is the main UK agent and the property manager for HPB, issued by HPB Assurance Limited ("HPBA") registered in the Isle of Man and authorised by the Financial Services Authority there. The Trustee of HPB is HSBC Trustee (C.I.) Limited registered at HSBC House, Esplanade, St Helier, Jersey, JE1 1GT. The Securities Manager is Stanhope Capital LLP of 35 Portman Square, London, W1H 6LR.

You should only invest in HPB for its holiday benefits – consistent quality and a no profit "user charge" to cover costs rather than a commercial rent. Although you can surrender your investment back to the company after two years or more you should not expect a full return of what you have paid. What you get back will reflect initial and ongoing charges and costs as well as changes in the value of the properties and securities in the fund in which your money, after charges, is invested. A summary of initial and ongoing charges is in section E of the Product Particulars. Exceptionally surrender may be deferred up to twelve months. Minimum initial payment £5,000 and then a quarterly fee of around thirty pounds linked to RPI. No medical examination required. HPB is available exclusively through HPBM who will only charge for their services if you invest.

HPBM advises only on HPB and is not independent of HPBA. Holders of policies issued by HPBA will not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the company becomes unable to meet its liabilities to them but Isle of Man compensation arrangements apply to new policies.

Privacy policy

Before you leave...

Why not request our fully illustrated brochure?

You will receive our beautiful property portfolio

Our full length DVD introduced by Bondholder & presenter Sue Barker

And a list of forthcoming Open Days and Open Events

REQUEST OUR BROCHURE