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Backbarrow Ironworks

The remains of Backbarrow Ironworks lie next to the River Leven, between the villages of Backbarrow and Haverthwaite, in the Furness district of Cumbria, England. 

Travelling by car

From the direction of Ulverston follow the A590 until you reach the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway station on your left. Take the first left after the station signed Backbarrow. Follow this road for 200 metres or so until you see Levensdale School on your right. Park along this stretch of road. Walk in the same direction for another 50m until you reach the entrance to the Ironworks housing estate, then down Ironworks Road to our gate. Parking on the estate is for residents only.

From the direction  of Newby Bridge follow the A590 and take the second turning right 400m after the end of a short stretch of dual carriageway, signed Whitewater Hotel and Backbarrow. Follow this road down past the hotell and cross the bridge over the river. You will pass the ironworks site on your left but carry on and park further along at the roadside by the school. Walk back to the entrance to the Ironworks housing estate, then down Ironworks Road to our gate. Parking on the estate is for residents only.

Travelling by bus

The Barrow to Kendal X6 and the Windermere to Barrow 6 stop by the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway station. Follow the road that leaves the A590 near the station, signed Backbarrow, until you reach the entrance to the Ironworks housing estate. Please click here for Bus Timetable

Travelling by train

The nearest main line station is in Ulverston. Visit Trainline for details.

Viewing the ironworks

From the entrance to the housing estate you can continue along the road for a high level view of the ironworks. Then drop down the steps and walk back along the footpath of Ironworks Road for a low level view. Although the estate is a private development, there is access for the public along the footpath next to our fence. We have interpretation panels in place to explain what you can see on your walk around outside, but the best way to understand and appreciate the ironworks – and gain access inside the fence - is to join one of our guided tours.

Guided tours

Guided tours are normally available on the last Sunday of the month between April and September - 28th April, 26th May, 30th June, 28th July, 25th August and 29th September in 2024. The tours last about 45 minutes, and offer you the best chance to learn about the ironworks, to ask questions, and to gain a closer view of the buildings and their contents. There is a small charge to join a tour - in 2024 this is £4.00 for adults (16 and over), with children free. The maximum number on a tour is 15. Please meet at the gate into the site.
We recommend that you book online using the Book Now link below to guarantee a place on a tour, but some tickets may be available on the day. Tours start at 2 p.m. and 3.30 p.m.
We are also open during the Heritage Open Days in September. Further information including how to book a place are on their website.

Group visits

Group visits are welcome outside our normal opening hours. For more information please contact

Health and safety

This is an old industrial site, and you will be walking over uneven ground and steps. Sturdy, flat-heeled shoes are essential for your safety. There are steep drops in places, protected by railings. Everyone is asked to take care and follow the advice of their guide. We do not recommend that you bring young children or dogs with you, but if that is unavoidable please keep them close to you.


There are no facilities for visitors, other than a warm welcome. The nearest cafes and toilets are at either the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway station or at the Lakeland Motor Museum, both of which could make an interesting addition to your visit. Other local attractions include Fell Foot Park (National Trust) and Stott Park Bobbin Mill (English Heritage), both near Newby Bridge. Food and drink are also available at the Swan at Newby Bridge, the Whitewater Hotel in Backbarrow, and the Anglers Arms across the road from the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway station.



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Backbarrow Ironworks

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