Little more than a mile from Caldbeck is the smaller but equally enchanting village of Hesket Newmarket. Every spring, this snug little gathering of traditional cottages is surrounded by hundreds of daffodils, while, come Christmas, the village green hosts a Nativity scene.
In 2003, the village’s Old Crown became Britain’s first community-owned pub. It had been put up for sale by its owner, so 125 people, including the mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington who lives locally, clubbed together to stop it from falling into the hands of a major brewery and potentially losing its cosy, traditional character. It serves beers produced at the Hesket Newmarket Brewery, situated next door and also owned by a local co-operative.
Located close to the foot of the Northern Fells, Hesket Newmarket is a great jumping-off point for lots of excellent walks. The grassy dome of High Pike can be climbed directly from the village car park. From the 2158ft/658m summit, the Pennines, the Cheviot and the Galloway hills are all clearly visible on a good day, as is much of the Lake District. Nearby, the top of Carrock Fell (2168ft/661m) is crowned by the remains of an Iron Age hill settlement, occupied by a Celtic tribe, the Brigantes, in pre-Roman times.
For something a bit gentler, head downstream beside the River Caldew to Watersmeet, where a confluence of streams creates a parcel of land almost completely surrounded by water. This walk is highly recommended in the spring when bluebells and wild garlic bring colour and fragrance to the woods.