Rookhow comprises 3 buildings: BUNKBARN, QUAKER MEETING HOUSE & COTTAGE (white house) & GIG BARN (outside seating area).

Rookhow was built in 1725 for the 'scattered communities of the Society of Friends'. As well as being a meeting place for Quakers over the last 300 years, its Bunkbarn (converted from the original stables) provides simple and affordable accommodation for groups. You don't have to be a Quaker to stay here: it's for everyone!

Rookhow Bunkbarn was the first ever member of the Independent Hostels Association when it opened over 30 years ago.

Rookhow is managed by a group of trustees, mainly Quakers, and employs a part-time Development Manager, a cleaner and a Finance Officer.

Rookhow is a registered charity. The charity's objects are to further the general religious and charitable purposes of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. For us this means continuing to maintain and restore Rookhow as a place for Quakers to meet and worship, as well as opening it as a wonderful venue for the public benefit. By staying here you'll be helping to contribute to that vision.

"I love Rookhow. There are no phones and there's a big wood, yummy food and nice people. There is tarpaulin where you can make dens. I love the big meeting house, I just like its bigness." (L, aged 10)

"The Meeting House is just a wonderful place and the attached woodland is simply magical. Overall a special environment which feels very much part of our Quaker roots and a perfect place for families with children and young people." (Friend from Wales)

"Its simple provision reminds us how little we need of material and technological embellishments to our lives. And how a deep, connection with our natural world can be more deeply achieved with much, much less." (Bunkbarn guest)



Rookhow is a Grade II* listed site, historically significant as an early Quaker Meeting House, with 1725 spice cupboard, 'plank and muntin' wooden paneling, stone floors, huge doorways and a key the size of a trowel! People would arrive to Rookhow on horseback or in gigs, the gig barn now being used as an outdoor covered seating area.

Current work

Rookhow Quaker Meeting House and cottage are in need of restoration. We've engaged a local conservation builder Stephen Grindrod from Roots of Nature Building to make some initial repairs to our roof, windows, floors, plaster work and to build a French drain around both properties. We are restoring the former ante room 'Friends Kitchen' into a community room with woodburner which can be hired by groups for activities and workshops. 

The next stage will be renovating the upstairs of the cottage to either a long term let for a local person or additional self catering accommodation. Income from the Bunkbarn will help fund this work and we're applying to grant making trusts.

Listed building consent has been granted by the Lake District National Park for this work and a bat licence by Natural England.


Quakers have been gathering to worship at Rookhow for the last 300 years and it is still used as an active place of worship.

A short Quaker Meeting for Worship is held on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm and also on Good Friday at 11am. Last year there were 80 Quakers from the surrounding area and beyond at the Good Friday Meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Due to the coronovirus, the 1st Wednesday monthly Meetings are currently on Zoom. Click here to join:     1ST WEDNESDAY MEETING

We're also holding a weekly Zoom Epilogue with a reading or poem and a short period of reflection on Monday evenings at 9pm. All welcome. EPILOGUE

Weekends for local Quaker families are held at Rookhow each March, June and November. These include people from the 3 local Area Meetings: Swarthmoor, Kendal & Sedbergh and Lancashire Central & North. At the moment we're running all age socials on Zoom. Contact Sue to find out more.

All 3 local Area Quaker Meetings are involved in the management and support of Rookhow, which is seen as a meeting place for Quakers of all ages as well as an opportunity to share our valuable resource with the whole community. 

Charitable support

Rookhow is grateful to the following grant making trusts for supporting Rookhow's development:

Hadfield Trust Dulverton Trust Fund (through Cumbria Community Foundation) and Frieda Scott Trust for contributing to the restoration of the Friends Community Room and kitchen 

Sawell Family Fund (national Quaker charity) for measured drawings and surveys & The BYM Meeting Houses Fund for intial restoration work.

Colton Parish Council for funding the commissioning of a new wooden carved sign for Rookhow by 2 local young woodcrafters, Kez and Jack.

Rusland Valley Community Trust for contributing to paying for our bat survey.

The Inlight Trust for initial funding towards the bat survey and French drain.

Cumbria Community Foundation Covid-19 Response Fund for our weekly online Zoom cafe.