Things are a lot quieter nowadays in this part of old Westmorland. Roll back to medieval times and there was constant attrition between Scottish invaders, cattle rustlers and unruly populace. So much so that a secure pele tower, a defensive structure, was built by the de Redman family at Levens, beside the waters of the River Kent in this corner of Morecambe Bay.
This strong stone edifice forms the core of the magnificent manor house seen by today’s visitors. The cosseted, clipped plants contrast with the wider country estate, which offers much pleasant rambling.
Best foot forward
There is an easy five-mile walk that winds around Levens Hall through the Cumbrian countryside.
1. Map in hand
Armed with OS Explorer sheet OL7, head off through the landscaped parkland south of the river, curling north through a tranquil realm grazed by rare black fallow deer and the critically endangered Bagot goats, of which only a handful survive.
2. Abandoned canal
The River Kent itself has otters fishing its lively depths. Immediately beyond the A590 over-bridge, join the nearby waterless cut of the long-abandoned Lancaster Canal, an unexpected route to tiny Sedgwick hamlet.
3. Across the water
From here head west on quiet lanes, cross the Kent at Wilson Place’s elegant footbridge and manoeuvre round to the sublime Strickland Arms for a helping of Cumbrian produce and beers.
4. One more look
Return to Levens on back lanes and another stretch of the hall’s estate.
The lush Lyth Valley, running north from the mansion into the Lake District, offers more great options for walking and cycling.
Find out more about Levens Hall, including admission and refreshments.
Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today and you can enjoy generous savings from the shop price plus, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.