There are few settlements that nestle in such a stunning setting. Driving along the A683 towards Sedbergh, it's hard not to get distracted by the incredible views. Wainwright said the Howgill fells look like a 'herd of sleeping elephants' and I'd agree, although when we were young we used to say 'the giant hasn't made his bed properly' when we saw this sort of landscape. No idea where the idea of the giant came from...
Whenever I reach Sedbergh, I always think of the travellers of yesteryear arriving by horse or carriage after a long journey. How surprised and relieved they must have felt when they finally saw Sedbergh, realising they could dismount and enjoy a good meal and a rest. For some time, Sedbergh was one of those very pleasant places you might stop off at en route between the Lakes and Dales. Now it's very definitely worth a visit in its own right. It's small but perfectly formed, and I think there are at least three very good reasons to spend some time there.
Several years ago it proclaimed itself England's Book Town. Sedbergh may have as many bookshops as somewhere like Hay-on-wye but there are enough to please most book worms. Within Westwoods alone there are around 70,000 books to choose from. Several of the cafes also sell books.
Sedbergh has a massive appeal for anyone who loves wool and textiles, and thanks to a recent appeal it looks like Farfield Mill has now been saved for future generations to enjoy. They have an excellent programme of workshops and events, tempting needleworkers, knitters, quilters, and weavers to make their own textile pilgrimage over the hills to Sedbergh.
Given its hilly location, it's not surprising that the sun doesn't always shine in Sedbergh but that's almost OK, thanks to the really cosy and welcoming cafes, pubs and restaurants. The quality of some of the food on offer lures many a visitor. Nina and James who own the Three Hares and also run the beautifully re-furbished Black Bull Inn can be thanked for some of this appeal. I think a lot of visitors from further afield are surprised at some of the ingredients used and stylish presentation.
Traditional English comfort food is available in Sedbergh but there's a more contemporary offering too that few expect. The Dales are not known as a destination for more exotic dishes but is likely to change as the Supper Club at the Malabar develops. Fiona and Graham put their years living in Mumbai to good use, offering pop up Indian food evenings in a stunning setting. Artisan Markets and other food-related events in Sedbergh mean there's no shortage of gourmet reasons to visit.
If that's not enough, you could use Sedbergh as a base to follow in Wainwright's footsteps, to see Cautley Spout, discover the Pub with No Beer or to find the 'loose cannons' lying around Sedbergh's ginnels and alleyways...