Businesses in Shap Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also Shap Abbey)

Market Cross By George Tod Diaries of a Long Distance WalkerOn a windy ridge, the village of Shap, at the southern end of the Lower Eden Valley, not part of the busy tourist area, is in a peaceful rural setting. It consists mainly of a double row of stone cottages and old coaching inns, the Greyhound being one. It was, in ancient times, referred to as Hep (related to the word hips, the fruit of the dog-rose).

In 1687, Philip, Lord Wharton, obtained a market charter for St Michael by Steve Bullman Images of CumbriaShap, with markets to be held on Wednesdays, and three fairs yearly in April, August, and September. The markets lasted for only a short period of time, but a 1690 Market House survives. Much of the trade was in fleece. In 1831 the population was only around 1000. St Michael's Church, with its 12th century arcade, served as the final resting place for bodies that were carried over the hills on the Old Corpse Road, now a popular walk.

Shap Abbey By Barbara Ballard Destinations-UK-IrelandOne and ½ miles away are the ruins of 12th century Shap abbey. Nearby medieval Keld Chapel, built in the shape of a barn, served the farmers in the area. Unlike many medieval chapels, it is starkly plain and serviceable. South of the village are the Shap quarries. The best stone was used in the building of the Albert Memorial and St Pancras Station. It can also be spotted in Manchester and Piccadilly Circus.

The area around Shap provides walkers with miles and miles of field and moorland tracks of comparative ease to the high fell walks. Here, on the moors, birdsong and panoramic views can be enjoyed. South of Shap the interestingly named narrow Wet Sleddale—once the property of the Abbey—and its reservoir, are surrounded by high fells and moorlands. The dale’s name came from a saying, "If any rain is stirring, the air scoops it surprisingly into the hollow of the dale."

Stone Circles By Chris CollyerThree stone circles testify to the area being widely settled during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Wilson Scar, 32 small stones, is located west of the A6 and northwest of Shap. One mile northeast of Shap, Gunnerkeld was at one time made up of two ovals, the outer with 18 stones (3 remain) and the inner that still has a burial mound. It was thought at one time to be a Druid’s temple. The third stone circle, Kemp Howe—only six stones remain—is cut in half by the railroad to Carlisle. Shap Fells and Ais Gill were popular with climbers who took the railroad from Lancaster to reach the area.View of Shap courtesy Crown Inn

A nearby hotel, Shap Wells, owned by the Earl of Lonsdale, opened in 1833 to accommodate visitors “taking the waters” of the Shap Spa in the grounds. In the 1920’s and 30’s the Earl enticed such notables as HRH Princess Mary to visit.Shap street and houses by shap community website Unfortunately, the building fell into decline and became a prisoner of war camp for senior German officers during World War II. It is now returned to its former glory as a hotel, serving fell walkers and tourists alike.

Shap, its abbey, and its environs, a mile outside the National Park, are secluded and quiet, with a haunting presence all their own.

Shap community website

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of Crown Inn , Chris Collyer , George Tod , Steve Bullman

Shap is located on the A6.

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