Acorn Bank gardens is a little haven situated in the fertile Eden Valley, between the Pennines and the Lake District. The famous oak trees border the river and the garden is protected from the storms by a high brick wall, which retains the warmth of the Cumbrian sunshine for the benefit of the horticulture and helps protect from the worst of the storms.
Acorn Bank’s orchard has a fine collection of specialist and heritage apple and pear trees, pollinated by bees from hives maintained by the Penrith Beekeepers Association. This orchard was inspirational when I first visited it more than ten years ago, both the beauty of the ancient trees and the possibility of apple trees bearing fruit this far north. Acorn Bank’s herb garden is particularly extensive and the plants are labelled clearly; the salad selections were informative. There’s also a working watermill which is restored and operated on summer weekends by Acorn Bank Watermill Trust. The warmth of the inner courtyard is a fine place to enjoy coffee and cakes baked locally, unfortunately it wasn’t clear whether these used some of the flour ground at the watermill.