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Low Nest Farm
Low Nest Studios are Self Catering Studio Cottages from converted stables and milking parlours of Low Nest Farm, a traditional white washed Lake District farm sat atop Nest Brow with some of the most spectacular views in the Lakes and a short walk from the ancient Castlerigg stone circle.Read More
We offer 4 self catering apartments, converted from old milking parlours and stables, with everything you need for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday in the Lake District.
Dogfriendly Magazine Review
Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.
Low Nest Studios
Reviewer: Anna Ward Murphy
Do you allow dogs?” With a welcoming smile, a knowing eyebrow was raised by the member of staff behind the counter of Jasper’s Coffee House in Keswick. A quick glance around revealed the futility of this question. Every wall was adorned with pictures of dogs, there were dog quotes on display around the café and, the real giveaway, a friendly spaniel was happily snoozing under a table as his family ate breakfast. Suitably embarrassed by our pitiful lack of observational skills, we sheepishly made our way in and took a seat. This scene would set the tone for the rest of our holiday. Keswick is, by far, the most dog friendly town we have visited on our travels to date, so we knew we were in for a fun week of canine adventures with our goofy labradoodle, Pepper.
My fiancé Steve and I weren’t intending to go on holiday this year. Pandemic chaos, reports of overcrowded destinations and inflated prices had put us off. However, when my sister and her family let us know they were planning a trip to the Lake District, we thought we’d see what was available. After a bit of internet-surfing we discover Low Nest Studios – a relaxed, dog friendly place to stay, off the beaten track but not too far from Keswick.
And so, after doing battle with the M6, we arrived. The view from the studios is spectacular, the hills rising impressively in front of the building. While we marvelled at the scenery, Pepper was more excited by the chicken roaming around outside. Not exactly sure of her intentions (playmates or dinner?), I resolved to make sure she stayed on her lead in the yard area of the farm.
We were staying in ‘Dollywaggon’, one of a number of studios on Low Nest Farm, a location particularly suitable for countryside lovers and walkers. The studios are extremely dog friendly, and we were greeted with a welcome doggy basket which Pepper was very pleased about. The farm also has a laundry /drying room which includes a doggy bath and some dog shampoo – a nice touch which would prove to be a welcome way to make sure we were all clean before returning to our studio after a muddy walk.
Our accommodation itself was just what we needed – a lovely ‘walker’s lodge’ type apartment. A split-level studio, there is a small kitchen, a table, sofa and a TV downstairs. Up a few steps are the bed and ensuite bathroom. Outside there is a small, fenced yard with table and chairs. The farm also has some exercise areas for dogs (fences are low, though, and several handy poo bins dotted around. There are also footpaths direct from the farm for a wealth of countryside walks.
Our first morning waking up to the wonderful views was energising. With a burst of enthusiasm, I decided to take part in Keswick Parkrun, so we headed off for the quick six-minute drive into town. The free weekly 5K run begins at 9am every Saturday at Keswick Railway Path, and the ‘there and back’ route takes in some stunning river scenery (parkrun.org.uk/ Keswick). Dogs on short leads are welcome to take part, but on this occasion the run was busy and I opted to leave Pepper with Steve to avoid her somewhat haphazard approach to running causing anyone to trip over a large furry ball of chaos. Parkrun proved to be the perfect start to the holiday, and I was buzzing afterwards.
Meeting back up with Steve and Pepper, who had enjoyed a lovely walk, we headed to the aforementioned Jasper’s for our first breakfast. The café is small but extremely welcoming to both humans and their canine companions and food was good (jasperscoffeehouse.com).
The energetic streak continued, and we met up with my sister and her family for a walk up Catbells. (Walk 10 from the book Walks: Keswick and the Northern Lakes by Richard Hallewell.) The terrain is moderately hard going (depending on your level of fitness), and involves a tiny bit of scrambling, but wow, is it worth it. The views over Derwent Water are spectacular and the route down takes you around the end of the lake, which is beautiful.
After a day of exertions, we had clearly earned a drink, and so, we headed to The Dog and Gun, a vibrant, relaxed pub in the centre of Keswick. The pub is famed for its goulash – so, of course, we had to give that a try. Meat for Steve and vegetarian for me, both of which were delicious, but be warned… they’re spicy! Our fears about how to get back to Low Nest Farm with a dog in tow proved unfounded, when we realised that most taxi companies are very happy to take dogs. We booked with Eric’s Taxis and headed back to our studio.
The following day, energy levels replenished, Steve and I were up early to complete a two-hour circular walk from Low Nest Farm up to the Stone Circle. (Walk 14 from the Ordnance Survey book Lake District: Great Short Walks for All the Family.) The walk takes in some lovely scenery surrounding the farm, including many fields with sheep in them, so do keep dogs on leads if they are prone to chasing. In the afternoon, Steve took his bike to one of the local trail centres so Pepper and I, keen for more exploring, met my sister, her husband and daughter for a long walk all the way around Derwent Water. This was, to put it simply, absolutely stunning – a real highlight. The long walk takes in boardwalks, woodland trails and the gorgeous lakeside. By the evening, we’d certainly worked up an appetite from our adventures, and so Steve and I met up to try out The Round, a burger restaurant in the heart of the town. The burgers were amazing, and this was our favourite restaurant of the holiday. Relaxed, friendly and delicious!
The next day, we headed back into town for an afternoon boat trip on Derwent Water. There are lots of activities available on the water, boarding. We opted for a traditional boat trip, which took us for a 50-minute jaunt around the lake. A peaceful, relaxing trip, followed by a little walk and some off-lead play for Pepper among the beautiful scenery of Crow Park.
The following day, we tackled a walk up nearby Latrigg. It was a misty, drizzly day but this didn’t dampen our spirits and the fairly gentle walk kept us happy and entertained, particularly when we ran the gauntlet with a herd of cows who’d decided to congregate around one of the gates. Fortunately, they weren’t bothered by tourists in the slightest and let us pass without even a sideways glance. Having worked up a thirst, we popped into the Riverside Café, part of the YHA Keswick, for a coffee and a cake, both of which were very impressive. The café is, as you might imagine, very dog friendly. In the evening, we booked dinner out of town, at The Kings Head Inn, which is around 10 minutes’ drive from Low Nest Farm. Food was excellent. Tired, full, and happy, it was an early night as we had a big excursion planned for our last full day in the lakes.
And so, early one morning, five intrepid explorers (Steve and I, my brother-in-law, my nephew and, of course, Pepper) set off to tackle Helvellyn. Pepper takes her role as an explorer-dog very seriously, and she always throws herself 100% into any adventure we embark upon – but we weren’t sure how she would fare with this challenging outing. However, we need not have been worried, she was in her element. Steve, being a keen climber, has visited Helvellyn several times before and so he was to be our guide for one of the moderate routes up the mountain, taking in the well-known Striding Edge and Swirrel Edge. The walk up was quiet, serene and utterly, utterly stunning. On arrival at Striding Edge, my intrepid relatives happily climbed, bounded and scrambled across Striding Edge while Steve, Pepper and I took the easier side path. This still involved some scrambling and some careful use of hands and feet to negotiate. Fortunately, Pepper was amazing on this terrain. She followed Steve’s instructions carefully and patiently waited for him to show her the route she needed to take. The summit of Helvellyn stands at 950m and, on a clear day as we had, the view makes all the hard work worthwhile. The vistas across the lake district are simply wonderful. A word of warning: this hike is hard work for humans, and I would also advise caution if planning to take a dog, unless you know they are hardy and capable. We did see a few other dogs, including a very mountain-savvy Border Collie skipping off lead from rock to rock, but it is something that needs careful planning to consider the weather and timing of your walk for both humans and canines. Our Helvellyn hike took us four hours, including a small snack stop and a slight blip when, in an embarrassing display of mal-coordination, I fell flat on my face on the flattest, easiest part of the descent. Once everyone had checked I was okay, however, they all found it hilarious – so at least I could provide some added entertainment. Tired, exhilarated, and happy, we had all thoroughly earned our ice cream beside Ullswater when we finally made it down in one piece.
Our last morning dawned cloudy but warm. Keen to string out the holiday for as long as possible, Steve and I had booked breakfast in Lake Road Brunch – a new venue which an extensive vegan menu as well as vegetarian and meat options. It’s lovely, stylish and cool and their modern take on traditional breakfasts was a welcome end to our trip.
And just like that, after a whirlwind of walks and explorations, after a whirlwind of walks and explorations, our active holiday in The Lakes came to an end far too soon. The Lake District is truly a wonder and Keswick, in particular, really stole our hearts. Low Nest Farm is the perfect destination for anyone keen to stay not too far from town, but in the heart of the countryside in a dog friendly, relaxed environment. We will undoubtedly be back to explore more of what this inspiring landscape has to offer.
Low Nest Studios, review by Anna Ward Murphy and appears in DogFriendly magazine issue 70. For more information on the DogFriendly magazine visit https://www.dogfriendly.co.uk/magazine
Katharine Verrill, August 2020
It is a few years since I visited but I will never forget how welcome my dog Holly and I were made to feel there. It felt truly like being at home but with the most stunning countryside on the doorstep.
Listing Updated: 14/04/2022
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