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The parish stretches from the banks of the River Eden to the summits of the North Pennines where it borders Northumberland and includes the villages of Croglin and Newbiggin as well as the hamlets of Dale, Walmersyke, Ruckcroft and Longdales and part of the village of Armathwaite.
Ainstable was the site of a Benedictine convent (the manor of "Nunnery"). This is said to date from the reign of William Rufus. However, Pevsner says that "the earliest reference is 1200. The nuns were so harassed by the Scots that in 1480 they had to reinvent their own charter, spuriously dating their foundation to 1089 and William Rufus." After the closure of the monasteries, the convent building became a private home, held for many years by the Aglionby family, and is now a guesthouse.
Eden Valley Woollen Mill is located in Ainstable itself.
The former village pub, the New Crown Inn, has closed and been sold for redevelopment.
In 2014 Eden District Council rejected a fiercely opposed plan to erect a wind turbine near to the village and the neighbouring village of Armathwaite.
- "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- J. Wilson (editor) (1905). "Houses of Benedictine nuns: The nunnery of Armathwaite". A History of the County of Cumberland: Volume 2. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Hyde, Matthew; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2010). Cumbria: Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness. The buildings of England. New York; London: Yale University Press. pp. xx, 775 p.115. ISBN 9780300126631.
- "The Nunnery - Ainstable". British Listed Buildings.
- "Properties that would be perfect renovation projects". Daily Telegraph.
- 'We will continue our fight against turbines' The Cumberland News 25.7.2014 page 19. An action group (Ainstable Turbine Action Campaign Group) set up to oppose wind turbines vowed to 'fight any more plans for giant wind turbines in the Eden Valley'
- Armstrong, A. M.; Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M.; Dickens, B. (1950–52). The place-names of Cumberland. English Place-Name Society, vol.xx. Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 168.
- "History of Ainstable". Vision of Britain.
- Media related to Ainstable at Wikimedia Commons
- Cumbria County History Trust: Ainstable (nb: provisional research only - see Talk page)