OS Grid ref:- NY 466545
The attractive North Cumbrian village of Wetheral is situated around six miles to the east of Carlisle.
The village, which stands on the beautiful River Eden, centres on its sizeable, triangular shaped village green, which is surrounded by Victorian and eighteenth century houses of the local sandstone and yellow brick, a tearoom, an hotel, restaurant and shops.
In one corner of the green stands the Wetheral Cross, once a market cross, which previously occupied a position at the centre of the green.
The handsome Early English style village church of the Holy Trinity, built of the local red sandstone with an octagonal tower, is dedicated to St Mary. It was said to have once been dedicated to St Constantine, the only church in England with such a dedication. The building dates back to the sixteenth century and overlooks the river. It contains a mausoleum to the Howard family of nearby Corby Castle, it also houses a Joseph Nollekins statue.
The village occupies a bank which overlooks a gorge in the River Eden. Parts of the riverbank are surrounded by ancient woodlands, including Wetheral Woods, which are owned by the National Trust.
A train viaduct of five semi-circular arches, each spanning 80 feet, crosses the river Eden. Started in 1830, it was finished in 1834, and is a memorial to Henry Howard of Corby Castle.
Benedictine Wetheral Priory was founded in 1106 by Ranulph de Meschines and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St Mary, and St Constantine.The solitary Gatehouse, is all all that now remains of the once grand medieval priory. The building stands at the edge of the village on the B6283 road and is now in the care of English Heritage. The battlemented gatehouse itself dates from the fifteenth century, and is built in course red sandstone, the arched gateway was once the entrance into the outer court of the monastery. In medieval times it formed part of a complex of buildings, which included a chapel, monastic offices and a school.
Near to Wetheral Priory are the man-made caves which are built, around fourty feet high, in the bank of the River Eden. These were were used by the monks of the priory as early as the fourteenth century, as places of refuge during skirmishes with the Scots, a common feature of life on the borders throughout the middle ages. Legend relates that the cells were made by Constantine, a younger son of a Scottish monarch. A carved stone figure of St Constantine was placed opposite the cells in 1843.
Corby Castle, which stands across the river from the village, is a tower house, dating from the thirteenth century. It was built by the Salkeld family and was purchased in 1611 by Lord William Howard, the third son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who added a 2 storied L-shaped house onto the origonal peel tower. The present neo-classical facade was built for Henry Howard by Peter Nicholson between 1812 and 1817. The castle is now owned by Northern Irish businessman Edward Haughey.
A walk at Wetheral
Distance - 3.5 miles
*Commencing at Wetheral village green, proceed towards the Priory Gatehouse,walk up the lane and take a left turn at a kissing gate, following the track to Wetheral Woods. After continuing along the track for around a quarter of a mile take the fork to the left. Keep to the left reaching a flight of stone steps leading down to St. Constantine's Cells.
* On returning back up from the cells, keep to the right and on reaching a merging of paths, keep right, going downhill.Emerge from the woods via a kissing gate, and remain on the path that follows the course of the River Eden. On reaching a grassy area, with Eden Benchmark sculpture turn left, going uphill for a short distance and then right, continuing along a narrow lane. Pass cottages to reach Wetheral Viaduct.
*Beneath the viaduct turn left up a flight of steps. Cross the railway footbridge at the station, and turn right to cross the viaduct on a footway. Follow a path to a level crossing with the Corby Bridge Inn opposite. Cross the railway then turn left on a footpath which after around 50 metres veers sharp right Continue along the path to Great Corby’s lower green below. Turn right at the road, turn right and continue along it to arrive at a crossroads by the Queen Inn.
* Take the right turn at the crossroads and continue along the road towards Carlisle until reaching the level crossing. After crossing the railway turn left to return across the viaduct. Cross the station footbridge and turn right uphill to return to Wetheral village green.