The village of Braithwaite, two miles west of Keswick, sits at the entrance to Coledale, but is normally associated with Whinlatter Pass for the road over the pass starts in Braithwaite. The village is thus familiar to thousands of tourists, although few stop. Like many parts of the Lakes Braithwaite has an industrial past. Force Crag Mine, at the far end of Coledale, was originally a lead mine, then was operated as a barite mine from 1860-1880s and from 1912 until it was flooded in 1947. During the 19th century the village contains a woollen industry. The original Cumberland Pencil Factory opened here in 1868, but burnt down in 1898 and was rebuilt in Keswick. The Church of St. Herbert dates back to 1900, and was built on the site of an earlier mission room. St. Herbert was a local hermit who lived on an island in Derwent Water.

The most attractive part of the village is to the south of the main road, and is clustered around a stream and the useful village shop. The setting is also superb, with a horseshoe of fells linking Grisedale Pike, Crag Fell (better known as Eal Crag) and either Barrow or Causey Pike running around the valley that contains Force Crag Mine. The mine buildings themselves are opened several times a year by the National Trust.

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