To help visitors and locals alike, the Cockermouth and District Civic Trust have publicised a fascinating walk through the town's history. The walk mirrors some of the work done by well known local historian Bernard Bradbury, whose book is the recognised 'bible' of Cockermouth's historic townscape. Get your copy of the map from the Tourist Information Centre.
Small cast iron numbered plaques created by the children of Cockermouth School help guide you as you take the Town Trail. Each plaque is numbered 1-19 and we here list their significance:
- 1; The Kirkgate Centre, rescued from neglect thanks to an initiative by the Trust, this former town school is now a thriving cinema and live events venue.
- 2; The former Rope Walk where ropemakers used to pace out their work twisting ropes.
- 3; Kirkgate, the cobbled square is very much as it has been since the 1700s. If you know where to look there is the outline of a stag set out in the cobbles at the southern end of the cobbled area.
- 4; Kirkbank. This is one of the best viewpoints to look out over All Saints Church and the town below.
- 5; Footbridge over the River Cocker. Nearby are the former hat factory, now converted to flats. Local farmers would sell rabbit skins to the many hat factories the town became noted for.
- 6; The Old Courthouse. The adjoining building with its Tempus Fugit clocktower was the former Mechanics Institute.
- 7; Globe Hotel. An old coaching inn with many famous associations.
- 8; The Mayo statue. The town's MP who was assassinated in India while serving as Viceroy of India.
- 9; Old Kings Arms Lane
- 10; Cockton's Yard. Typical of the narrow housing and weaving workshops that ran back from the Main Street in reflections of the older mediaeval burgage plots.
- 11; Wordsworth House birthplace of the poet.
- 12; The birthplace in a humble weavers cottage of Fearon Fallows the astronomer who mapped the stars in the Southern hemisphere.
- 13; Graves Mill now converted into riverside flat but close to the ancient Sands area alongside the Derwent where sheep and cattle were auctioned. Across the river can be seen the imposing former Harris Mill, now luxury flats.
- 14; Waterloo Street and its former linen mill.
- 15; Brewery Bridge. A footbridge replaces the road bridge swept away in 1938. Nearby the ruins of one of the town's two windmills.
- 16; Jennings Brewery The walk passes through the brewery yard and up to the Castle, and Castlegate Gallery
- 17; Cockermouth Castle
- 18; The Market Place. Look carefully above the Chinese take-away for the ancient market bell set in the wall.
- 19; The Old Hall, sadly demolished in less enlightened days (1973), the hall had at least one famous visitor, Mary Queen of Scots.
For contact details and more information - see www.cockermouthcivictrust.co.uk