There’s a foodie triangle in the Lyth Valley with six of the best places to eat in Cumbria. First there’s The Punch Bowl Inn in Crosthwaite which is in the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Pub guide. Then there’s The Mason’s Arms at Strawberry Bank, a Camra favourite, which is Pub of the Year 2012. Not forgetting my own Damson Dene Hotel at Crosthwaite, which receives a steady stream of five star reviews from Tripadvisor and has their Certificate of Excellence. Two more pubs and a restaurant, The Hare and Hounds at Bowland Bridge, The Brown Horse Inn at Winster and the Lyth Valley restaurant, are among the best in the county.
The Lyth Valley road used to be the main route to Windermere but it’s now a quiet backwater with a jumble of lanes leading off it, down which many of these places are to be found. A sat-nav won’t be much use because most of the lanes are unnamed. This is one of those places where you’re best to rely on a map and signposts. Unfortunately the signposts won’t be of much use because the Council are letting them rot away, as these photos show. The foodie triangle has become a Bermuda triangle.
A few years ago there was a poll in which people were asked “If the Lake District was a car, which model would it be?” The most popular answer was “An E-Type Jag”, meaning that we were full of class but maybe a bit old-fashioned. Now, the answer would be a rusting old jalopy. The Lyth Valley is only a short hop from the County Council offices in Kendal. No doubt many of the officers there make the trip out for a leisurely lunch. I wonder what frame of mind they must be in to see these visible signs of their shocking neglect and yet never get round to doing anything about it?