The disused foghorn building near St Bees Head. Photo: Trevor Harris CC-BY-SA-2.0

The disused foghorn building near St Bees Head. Photo: Trevor Harris CC-BY-SA-2.0

What do an old fog horn, gunpowder works and the Lake District’s last mineral mine have in common?

They’re all destinations on offer for walkers during two long weekends of heritage open days run by the National Trust.

The annual festival celebrates the country’s diverse history, architecture and culture offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. In the Lakes, a diverse range of activities is on offer from quirky guided walks to ‘behind the scenes’ tours.

Many National Trust places across the Lake District are opening their doors free of charge for two long weekends of heritage events, including entry into places not usually open to the public.

They include the now disused fog horn building near St Bees Head, passed by thousands of walkers each year as they embark on the Coast to Coast Walk. And visitors to the remains of Sedgwick gunpowder works on the Sizergh estate near Kendal can learn some of their secrets.

A walk up Coledale to Force Crag Mine is also on offer as part of the series of heritage open days.

Rachel Hunter, visitor experience officer for Sizergh Castle, whose team will also be leading some ‘gunpowder’ walks, said: “This year’s heritage open days festival in the Lakes is the most diverse programme of events we’ve ever offered and is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and locals alike to get close to the stories of the places they love – and all completely free of charge.”

Heritage Open Days are co-ordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust with funding by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and run locally by a large range of organisations, including civic societies, heritage organisations, and local councils, community champions and thousands of enthusiastic volunteers.

They will take place from 6-9 September and 13-16 September. Booking is needed for some of the events.

More details are available on the Heritage Open Days website and the National Trust Lake District site.

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