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Exploring the Unusual: Odd Things in Penrith

Nestled in the picturesque Cumbrian countryside, Penrith is a charming market town with a rich history dating back to Roman times. While it’s known for its beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and warm hospitality, Penrith also harbors a few peculiar and unexpected gems that are sure to pique the curiosity of any traveler. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the odd and unusual things that Penrith has to offer.

  1. Mayburgh Henge: One of the most intriguing and lesser-known historical sites in Penrith is Mayburgh Henge. This massive circular earthwork, dating back to the Bronze Age, features a large standing stone in the center, which is believed to have been placed there around 2,500 BC. The purpose of this henge is still a subject of debate among archaeologists, adding an air of mystery to the place.
  2. The Giant’s Grave: Just outside Penrith lies a mysterious burial mound known as the Giant’s Grave. This ancient structure comprises two long barrows, or burial mounds, which were said to be the resting places of two giants. While the legends surrounding these giants are shrouded in folklore, the site is undoubtedly unusual and worth a visit for its historical significance.
  3. The Glassonby Beehives: The quaint village of Glassonby, located near Penrith, is home to a unique set of beehive-shaped stone huts. These structures, known as ‘The Glassonby Beehives,’ are actually holiday cottages designed to resemble the beehive huts of ancient Ireland. These unusual accommodations offer visitors a chance to experience something truly out of the ordinary while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
  4. The Musgrave Pencil Museum: The Musgrave Pencil Museum, located in nearby Hesket Newmarket, is an odd yet delightful attraction for stationery enthusiasts. This museum celebrates the history of pencil manufacturing, showcasing an array of pencil-related artifacts and curiosities. Visitors can learn about the process of pencil production and even see a giant pencil on display.
  5. Acorn Bank and the Herb Garden: While not necessarily odd, Acorn Bank is a National Trust property with a peculiar and delightful feature – its extensive herb garden. The garden is not your typical botanical collection, as it features numerous species of aromatic herbs, some of which are not commonly found in modern gardens. It’s a fragrant, sensory experience that might be considered unusual in today’s world of ornamental gardens.
  6. Lowther Castle’s Lost Castle Gardens: Lowther Castle, located just a short drive from Penrith, is a fascinating place with a story that fits the unusual theme. Once a grand mansion, the castle was abandoned for over 70 years. The gardens surrounding it were left untended, leading to the ‘Lost Castle Gardens.’ Today, visitors can explore the overgrown, romantic ruins of the gardens, offering a unique blend of history and nature.
  7. Penrith Beacon: The Penrith Beacon is not an unusual structure, but its purpose and history add an intriguing twist. This hilltop beacon was used for communication in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its primary function was to alert nearby towns and villages in times of emergency, often in response to threats from invading armies or fires. It’s a historical relic with an unusual past.

In conclusion, Penrith may appear to be a quiet, idyllic market town at first glance, but there is a layer of eccentricity and intrigue beneath the surface. From ancient henges and burial mounds to quirky museums and lost gardens, Penrith offers a delightful blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary. These oddities only enhance the town’s charm and make it a must-visit destination for those who enjoy exploring the offbeat and unusual.

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