Millom is a small, peaceful, unspoilt coastal town situated on the edge of the Lake District National Park. It is north of Barrow-in-Furness and on the Duddon River estuary, which leads to Broughton-in-Furness and the attractive Duddon valley. The Duddon Sands are well known for their mussels and cockles.
The Millom area makes an excellent base for a touring holiday of the Lake District with a peaceful setting and quiet roads. It has six hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments and self catering accommodation.
Bankfield House Hotel stands in five acres of its own grounds. The Duddon Estuary Youth Hostel has a waterfront location with panoramic views. Camping and caravan sites are situated in nearby Whicham Valley, Silecroft and Haveriff.
From iron ore mining to nature reserve
After the discovery of iron ore in 1855, Millom grew and became prosperous with a population of over 10,000. Now a major RSPB nature reserve bordering a extensive artificial lagoon, the iron ore mining took place in nearby Hodbarrow. The flooding of iron workings, which closed in 1968, created the lagoon. Many species of plants, animals and birds have now colonised the area. It was a large industrial site in its day. A statue commemorates the town's iron industry. It is 'The Scutcher', the man who stopped the iron ore, and is by Colin Telfer of Maryport.
Millom Folk Museum, set in railway station buildings, includes a full scale reconstruction of a local drift mine among its displays, with a replica of a miner's cottage kitchen and a blacksmith's forge. It has over 10,000 artefacts. The small museum and information centre are open during summer months and concentrate on the town and its people, mining and the iron works. Millom Railway Station itself on the Cumbrian Coast Line, a very scenic route.
The poet Norman Nicholson was born and lived in the town. His life and work are recorded in a permanent exhibition in the Folk Museum and a commissioned stained glass window in St George's Church.
The remains of Millom Castle, dating from the early 12th century, surround the farm house and include a four storey high pele tower. In the English Civil War, it was badly damaged by the Roundheads. Viewing is only by permission from the farm.
Holy Trinity Church
The ancient Holy Trinity Church, with its unusual 'fish' or piscina window in the west wall, is worth visiting. It is just behind the Castle, partly 12th century and partly 19th century. Effigies inside are of Sir John Huddleston and his wife, (died 1494), carved in alabaster. 'It is a venerable edifice consisting of a nave and chancel, a south aisle, and a modern porch, with a bell turret carrying two bells.' Extract from History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, Mannix and Whellan.
Haverigg, by the sea
Nearby, to the south west, the village of Haverigg is a good place for quiet family seaside holidays. It is a small coastal fishing village with a dune system and fine expanses of uncrowded sandy beach. Sea and river fishing, golf, water skiing and sailing, and horse riding can be enjoyed locally. Situated between the sea and mountains, it has very fine scenic views inland, seaward across the Irish Sea and south across the Duddon estuary, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
A small RAF museum documents the history of RAF Walney #10 Air Gunnery school. It has some plane parts and a photo archive.
The 7 tonne sculpture 'Escape to Light', by Josefina de Vasconcellos, near to the Haverigg Inshore Rescue Station, is dedicated to all inshore rescue teams in the UK.
North of Millom and locally known as 'Sunkenkirk,' the Swinside Stone Circle sits in a hollow in the hills above the estuary. It dates from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. Twenty nine metres in diameter, its stones are close packed and appear aligned with the midwinter solstice. 'Sunkenkirk' is derived from a legend that says that the devil kept pulling down a church that was being built.
Anyone counting the stones is said to arrive at a different number each time they count. Close by at Ash House, there are standing stones but no public access.
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