At almost 1500ft above sea level, Nenthead is one of England’s highest villages. It was built in the eighteenth century by the benevolent London Lead Company to provide decent accommodation and welfare facilities for its miners and their families. Some of the old mine buildings have been restored and open days at the Nenthead Mines include tours of the underground workings. If you can’t get a place on one of the tours, there’s also the North of England Lead Mining Museum at Killhope, less than three miles to the east – just over the county border in Northumberland – and open daily.
The popular Sea to Sea (C2C) cycle route passes through the village, as does Isaac’s Tea Trail, a 37-mile circular walk celebrating the life of a former lead miner called Isaac Holden who turned itinerant tea-seller to raise money for the poor and needy of the Pennines.
Three miles southwest of the village, near Garrigill, is Ashgill Force, one of Cumbria’s most impressive yet least visited waterfalls – a true hidden gem.