What catches most people’s breath when it comes to Birkdale House is its location. Turning off the high street in Bowness, it’s just a couple of minutes in the car, but it feels like you’ve left the general hubbub of activity far behind. Welcome to the Matson Ground Estate.
The Matson Ground Estate sits just to the east of Windermere and Bowness, more than 1000 acres of farmland in the heart of South Lakes and boasting some breath-taking scenery, including unrivalled views of Lake Windermere and the Lake District fells beyond.
Running through the heart of the Matson Ground Estate is the Dales Way, an 81-mile footpath running from Ilkley in West Yorkshire all the way to Bowness-on-Windermere, taking in two national parks along the way, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park.
From the Dales Way, there is a relatively easy ascent to the summit of Brantfell, which is located right at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate. Reaching a height of 192m, it’s not particularly high, but nevertheless it does feature in Alfred Wainwright’s book, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Wainwrights’s ascent begins in Bowness, follows the Dales Way and makes an anticlockwise loop of Post Knott before reaching the summit, where walkers are treated to stunning views of Lake Windermere and the Western Fells. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to call Birkdale House your home for a long weekend or a week, your walk to the summit of Brantfell begins at the front door.
As well as Brantfell, leisurely walks and spectacular views, Matson Ground is also a working farm, where conservation and sustainability are at the core of everything the owners stand for. The organic farm at Matson Ground is managed under a Higher Level Countryside Stewardship agreement, an accreditation which demonstrates a commitment to wildlife conservation, maintenance and enhancement of the landscape and protection of natural resources. Hardly surprising then that the surrounding countryside is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors.
So make sure you pack your walking boots. There’s a whole world to explore from the Matson Ground Estate. While Brantfell and Post Knott are on the doorstep, School Knott and its tarn are easily reached on the various footpaths crossing the estate.