Located four kilometres north of Kendal, Skelsmergh occupies an area bounded on the east by the River Mint, on the west by the River Sprint and on the south by the River Kent. Scalthwaiterigg is adjacent to Skelsmergh and lies to the south-east on the opposite bank of the Mint. It rises on the east to the prominent bulk of Benson Knott (317m.) and Hay Fell. The landscape tells a story which goes back millennia, bearing the unmistakable imprint of the last ice age in the form of the small rounded hills, ‘drumlins’, and in the litter of distinctive pink Shap granite boulders, known as ‘glacial erratics’. These epic events of the past have left us a countryside which has since been shaped and by the stewardship of generations of farmers, enclosing the fields with walls and hedges, draining the wet areas and in the process creating the surroundings which our residents value so highly and which contributes to the distinctiveness of the two parishes and to their attractiveness as places to live.

The undulating landscape forms a patchwork of neat, grazed fields bounded by hedges and dry stone walls with small farmsteads nestling comfortably in the folds. The woodlands are generally unmanaged but still provide good and varied wildlife habitat. Largely consisting of a scatter of farms and small hamlets, the parishes are notable for having no single centre of population, with concentrations at Mealbank,Garth Row and Oakbank. The church of St John the Baptist and the adjacent Community Hall stand in isolation above the A6 and form a prominent landmark. In the nineteenth century there was a significant manufacturing and industrial presence in the area with water powered mills at Oakbank, Scarfoot, Stocks Mill, Gilthwaiterigg, and three at Mealbank. They produced bobbins, snuff, dyes, cereal and woollen products. Many of the buildings remain and are still providing employment, but on a lesser scale than in their heyday.

The Community Plan The Environment Group Local walks
The Parish woodlands Bird survey 2015 Contributed photos of the local area