Of all the places I have lived and of all the hidden avenues I’ve gone down, the site of the former Abbotswood Mansion in the heart of The Vale of The Deadly Nightshade has to be one of my favourites.
I’ve spent a lot of time here over the years – as a sixth form student in Barrow-in-Furness I’ve spent both trippy and lucid hours trailing around these woods.
Although the Abbotswood Mansion itself was demolished in the 1960s random bits of it lay strewn about the Vale. You will also find a peace garden which was created after the site was also used to house a nuclear bunker during the cold war.
Furness Abbey also lies in The Vale of The Deadly Nightshade and carries with it some pretty well documented ghosts within its walls and subsequent outbuildings. There are stories of monks, (non surprisingly), as well as children and animals haunting the area.
When visiting, (keep praying for the post covid era!), it is possible to take in the Abbey, the woods and an even further extension out to the Medieval Bow Bridge and back before a stop off at the equally haunted Mill Cafe, ( Custodian Cottage). Making it the perfect Sunday family trip.
Strangely The Vale of The Deadly Nightshade and its frequent supernatural inhabitants have never let me in on any of their secrets, but if or when they do you will read it here first!
For now at least this place offers a quiet, sleepy hollow away from the business of modern life. In fact just driving down to it – as you approach – the feeling of having swooped through a time portal and landed in the sixteenth century is hard to shake.
Oh and do try the mead at the Abbey gift shop 🙂
As much as I love a nostalgic trip around Abbotswood when visiting my family I always like to be away by sundown!
This post is subject to updates and revisions as needed. The photos in this post are all from my last trip in 2014.