Gilcrux, Village of the Seven Springs
Gilcrux is a peaceful village of around 140 characterful cottages and seven natural springs. It has two real ale pubs, a village shop and an ancient church and is close to many of the best Lake District attractions.
The village is now being discovered by visitors looking for a tranquil holiday base on the edge of the North Lakes. Gilcrux is particularly popular for its friendliness and its own distinct village identity.
Scroll further down to read about Gilcrux Village, its location and history. Or find out more about visiting the village immediately below.
About Gilcrux Village
Gilcrux village lies hidden in a fold of the gently undulating countryside which leads from the Lake District fells to the Solway coast.
A very ancient settlement, there is evidence of a Celtic hamlet in Gilcrux in the eight century, and certainly the Vikings were hereabouts from at least AD 980, possibly much earlier. The first established written records, however, begin in the twelfth century with the Normans, and the development of the current ‘nucleated’ village.
The actual name Gilcrux comes from the mound on which St Mary’s Church now stands. It is believed that the name comes from the Celtic, or Welsh, cil and cruc. With cil being “nook”: a small hidden space of shelter and seclusion, and cruc being a mound.
The mound, with St Mary’s Church and the “Hatching Well”, a natural spring.
With a number of natural springs issuing from it, the mound is typical of sites which had a religious significance for the pagan Celts. There is some speculation that the ancient stone head set into the chancel gable of the church is from the pagan Celtic cult of the head.
A Norse-Celtic cross was erected on the mound in around AD 980, prior to the building of the church, which dates back to at least AD 1100. Fragments of the original cross are preserved inside the church.
Gilcrux centre – the Green
The village is laid out in a roughly teardrop-shaped ring of homesteads. Aligned from its narrowest part in the south-west it widens out towards the north-east. The church, and its mound, lies towards the north-east end. At one time the protected enclosure, or Green, between the homesteads would have been used to bring in the livestock, for protection against raiders in tumultuous periods.
The playing fields between Gilcrux village hall (left of pic) and the church (off-picture to the right)
The widest area of the Green at the north-east end of Gilcrux village now houses the playing fields, with goal posts and a basketball net. These are for general public use and visitors are welcome to make use of them.
South-east of the church and playing fields is Gilcrux Village Hall and the children’s playground. The Village Hall officially re-opened in 2012, following a monumental fund raising campaign. Now totally self-funding, and fully renovated to a high specification, it provides a very popular venue for village events. It is also an ideal venue for wedding receptions, christening, social events, and club and fund raising events
Other parts of the ancient Green were, long ago, taken into use by the homesteads surrounding it as it became redundant for livestock use. This explains the generous front gardens of houses around the centre of the village.
Gilcrux is an exceptionally tranquil village. As the road to the east of the village is narrow and twisting, almost no traffic uses the village as a cut through to other destinations. Despite Gilcrux being so well located, just a few minutes from Market Towns and the North Lakes, there are no major trunk roads within hearing distance.
Unusually for the Lake District and Cumbria, much of Gilcrux has deep fertile soil, giving rise to abundant gardens, trees and bird life. In spring and summer the bird song in the village can be extraordinary.
Seven natural springs rise in the village. Six of the springs are freshwater and one, Tommy Tap, is salt water. It is recorded that at one time “Gilcrux (was) remarkable for the number of its springs which arise at almost every door”.
High Manor Spring
High Manor Spring is on private land and home to domestic geese and ducks. It is easily visible from the pavement of the road through the village.
The Hatching Well
The Hatching Well is on the edge of the village Green, near St Mary’s Church.
The Yarling Well
The Yarling Well is opposite the Mason’s Arms and beside the entrance to the Bar’n Bistro.
Located just over the Lake District National Park boundary, Gilcrux is an excellent base for visiting the North and West Lakes.
Keswick, the bustling tourist town at the heart of the North Lakes, is just a 17 mile, 25 minutes, scenic drive. Bassenthwaite Lake, on the way to Keswick, is about 10 miles.
The beautiful Western lakes of Crummock Water, Loweswater and Buttermere are reached through beautiful Lakeland scenery in half an hour.
The Georgian Gem Town, Cockermouth, is just 5 miles south. Both Maryport, a small fishing town, and Allonby, in a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty on the coast, are also just 5 miles away. All can be reached in about 12 minutes.
The heart of the South Lakes, with the busy tourist destinations of Windermere and Ambleside, is about 30 miles to the south through glorious countryside, making it easily accessible for a day out.