The Cistercian Way
The Cistercian Way is an ancient waymarked trail of middle distance which traverses the low limestone fells that fringe the shores of Morecambe Bay and the sands of the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas. The trail takes about two to three days to complete.
The trail, which passes through some superb scenery, commences at the Edwardian resort of Grange-over-Sands and continues for 33 miles, passing through the characterful village of Cartmel. Atmospheric Cartmel Priory is perhaps one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in the north of England. An Augustinian Priory, it was founded in 1189 by William Marshall, Baron of Cartmel, later created Earl of Pembroke and appointed Regent of England during the minority of Henry III. Marshall stipulated that the foundation should remain a priory, and never be elevated to an abbey.
The trail progresses through the market town of Ulverston , Dalton, the ancient capital of Furness and Barrow-in-Furness, an attractive Victorian seaside town with miles of beaches set against the background of the Lake District Mountains and finishes at Roe Island, just off Barrrow.
The area boasts a fascinating history, Britons, Romans, Celts, Viking raiders, monks and saints, have all left their early marks on Furness. The area is noted for its monastic connections, especially Furness Abbey.
The Abbey (pictured left) was founded in 1124. The fabulously wealthy Abbey, was, with the exception of Fountain's Abbey, the most powerful in the country and once owned much of southern Cumbria, as well as owning land in Ireland and the Isle of Mann. Remarkable privileges were given to the abbot, who had great authority in the whole of the surrounding district.
Today's visitors can see the remains of the east end and west tower of the church, the ornately decorated chapter house and the cloister buildings. The visitor centre houses an education centre and a large exhibition on the history of the Abbey which includes a number of grave slabs and effigies removed from the site in the nineteenth century. An audio tour taking the visitor around the Abbey is available.
Explorer OL6 - The English Lakes South-western area