• Red Squirrel - Wildlife of The Lake District

    The red squirrel is native to the woodlands of The Lake District and one of the few remaining areas where the animal can still be seen and found. Red squirrels are an endangered species that have been suffering a steady decline in numbers since the grey squirrel arrived in Britain. Although grey squirrels are increasing their population, there are still large numbers of red squirrels found within northern areas of the National Park.

    Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) running along branch

    When faced with competition from grey squirrels red squirrels survive best in large numbers in coniferous woodland. Red squirrels need a constant supply of diverse food such as seeds, nuts, berries, cones, buds, shoots, flowers and occasionally insects. The length of a red squirrel is 180 – 240 mm long with a tail of up to 175mm. Their tails act as a heat source in the winter to aid their balance and communication. Active during the daytime the squirrels make nests in a tree fork or a hollow. The nests are made using soft hair, moss and dried grass.

    Red Squirrel

    Red squirrels are quite elusive and are most likely to be see in Lake District woodland, in particular Whinlatter Forest and Dodd Wood. We’ve also seen them at the front of the café too where a project at Allan Bank is running a project to help protect them.

  • Dove Cottage - The Home of William Wordsworth

    Experience the day to day life of William Wordsworth with a visit to Dove Cottage. In 1799, Wordswortrh fell in love with Dove Cottage and Grasmere while on a walking tour in The Lake District. A few months after visiting the lakes Wordswortrh set up home in the village. While living at Dove Cottage Wordsworth wrote many of his most loved poems while his sister Dorothy wrote her festinating journal. The cottage is filled with Wordsworth’s personal possessions and warming coal fires, a place where William and Dorothy would spend years of ‘plain living and high thinking’.

    Inside Dove Cottage

    Behind the cottage lies the delightful fell side garden which Wordswortrh referred to as ‘little domestic slip of mountain’. Whether you see snowdrops in the winter, daffodils and bluebells in the spring, an abundance of wildflowers through the summer and the colour changing of leaves in the autumn, the garden is a beauty spot in all seasons. A place of peace and inspiration Wordsworth would often compose poetry outdoors.

    The Garden - Dove Cottage

    The cottage today has been turned into a museum open to visitors giving a vivid impression of what day to day life was like for Wordsworth.

    To find out more about Dove Cottage and plan your visit, visit

    https://wordsworth.org.uk

  • The Life of Beatrix Potter

    Helen Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist and is best known for her childhood books such as ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ and ‘The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher’.

    Educated at home her talent for drawing and painting was discovered at an early age and was encouraged by those around her. Throughout her childhood Beatrix and her brother Walter kept many small pets such as mice, rabbits, hedgehogs and bats in their schoolroom. Beatrix would keep an illustrative record of the animals including their species and breed. This was something she would later use as inspiration for her illustrative books.

    Until 1887 the Potters took their Summer holidays in Scotland, but then came to stay in the Lakes for the first time at Wray Castle. Here she met and was greatly influenced by Herdwicke Rawnsley, the vicar of Wray, and later the founding secretary of the National Trust.

    Wray Castle

    In 1890 Potter devoted most of her time to studying natural history in particular archaeology, geology, entomology and mycology. Encouraged by Charles McIntosh, to make her fungi drawings more technically accurate, Potter not only produced beautiful watercolours, but also became an adept scientific illustrator. During this time Beatrix wrote picture letters to the children of her governess and in 1901 she turned one into her first book, ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’, with ‘The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin” and ‘The Tailor of Gloucester" to follow.

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter

    In 1905 Beatrix brought Hill Top Farm where she spent most of her time painting and writing. Some of her best books ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten’, ‘The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck’ and ‘The Tale of Samuel Whiskers’ were written here. The books reflect her life in the farmhouse and farming life. Beatrix married local solicitor William Heelis and moved into Castle Cottage on Castle Farm. Becoming deeply involved in the community, she served on committees to improve rural living, oppose hydroplanes on Lake Windermere, fund a nursing trust and developed a passion for breeding and raising Herdwick Sheep.

    Hill Top - The home of Beatrix Potter

    With her eyesight deteriorating Beatrix published her last book ‘The Tale of Little Pig Robinson" in 1930. Beatrix Potter Heelis died on 22 December 1943. After her death Potter left fifteen farms and over 4,000 acres of land to The National Trust which continues to protect and conserve the unique Lake District countryside.

    To find out more about Beatrix Potter and her work visit:

    https://beatrixpottersociety.org.uk/about-beatrix/

    Within The Lake District are various places connected to Beatrix which have been turned into galleries or museums by The National Trust. Discover Beatrix Potter’s original artwork with a trip to Beatrix Potter’s gallery in Hawkshead. The gallery is in a 17th century stone built house which is dedicated to the orginal book illustrations created by Beatrix.

    To find out more about the gallery visit:

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatrix-potter-gallery-and-hawkshead

    Get an insight into the home of Beatrix Potter with a visit to Hill Top house.

    To find out more about Hill Top house visit:

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

    The World of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness – on – Winderemere is a perfect day out for all the family. Relive the life of Beatrix Potter with a self - guided tour of the gardens and Beatrix’s much loved characters brought to life.

    To find out more about The World of Beatrix Potter visit:

    http://www.hop-skip-jump.com/explore/

  • Colwith Force

    Colwith Force is located near Ambleside and Skelwith and lies on the River Brathay. The waterfall drops in several stages from a total height of 40 feet with the final spout being the most spectacular feature. Set in beautiful woodland the fall is an enchanting place to visit as part of a popular lowland walk.

     

  • Updated Opening Hours for June

    Just a quick post to let you know our opening hours for the rest of June. We have a few more weddings to cater over the next couple weeks so in addition to the usual Thursdays closed we will be closed on Saturday 15thJune and Wednesday 19thJune. Sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope to see you all soon.

  • Herdwick Sheep - the lakes native sheep

    The Lake District is home to a variety of wildlife that can be found among woodland and along tranquil lakes. Roaming on the Lakeland fells are the distinctive Herdwick Sheep, a native breed to Cumbria.

    It is unclear when the sheep were introduced to the takes but is thought they were introduced to the area during the Viking invasions of western England. There are currently around 60,000 breeding females with 40,000 of these estimated on National Trust Farms.

    Their distinctive silver coat, often died red for shows, stand out amongst other breeds of sheep found in England. Herdwick sheep are born black, lightening to a dark brown colour after the first year, then to grey after their first shearing. Their wool is difficult to dye but is an excellent insulator that retains heat in the winter months. A dual purpose breed, the sheep produce both meat and wool. Vital to the maintenance of The Lake District landscape they enjoy grazing on a wide range of plants which keeps the scenery in check. Having a territorial nature enables the sheep to be carried and lifted to a particular fell. This traditional method of farming means the sheep can roam without the need of hedges or fences, as they are taught to stay in the same area. Their ability to survive long periods searching for food and provisions makes them suited to the harsh conditions of the Lakeland fells.

    The sheep were bred by Beatrix Potter at the time where the sheep were a threatened native breed. Beatrix won many prizes for her sheep at local shows and became the first elected female president of the ‘Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association’ in 1949.

    Beatrix Potter and her Herdwick sheep

    Herdwick sheep can be found on farms throughout the fells with large numbers visible in Buttermere, Coniston, Wasdale and Borrowdale.

    Herdiwck Sheep

  • June Opening Hours

    Just a quick post to let you know that we will be closed on a couple of days over the next two weeks as we are providing the catering at a few weddings. We will be closed on Wednesday 5th, Thursday 6th, Thursday 13th and Saturday 15th June. Sorry for any inconvenience caused and we hope to see you all soon.

  • May Opening Hours

    Just to let you all know our May opening hours. We will be closed on Wednesday (15th) and will be back open on Friday morning (17th) at 9:30am. For the remainder of May, we will be open 9:30am - 4:30pm everyday except we will be closed on Thursday 16th, Saturday 18th, Thursday 23rd and Thursday 30th May. Sorry for any inconvenience caused and we hope to see you all soon.

  • Alfred Wainwright - Fell walker of the lakes

    While exploring the lakes it is almost impossible not to hear something of Alfred Wainwright. But who was he?

    Alfred Wainwright was born on 17th January 1907 in the mill town of Blackburn. Despite having a troubled childhood Wainwright qualified as an accountant in 1941and worked in the village of Kendal. During his time off Alfred would go for long walks amongst the surrounding landscape of the lakes.

    Alfred Wainwright

    In 1930 at the age of 23 Wainwright visited The Lake District for the first time. Travelling by bus from Blackburn he travelled to Windermere with his cousin Eric Beardsall. On arrival they climbed the hill at Orrest Head which is situated on the northern edge of Windermere. Shortly after climbing the hill Wainwright wrote about his adventure “Orrest Head cast a spell that changed my life’. This was the start of many adventures to come.

    View from the tope of Orrest Head

    Over the years Wainwright wrote many books describing the summits and views of the Lakeland Fells. One of his best - known volumes ‘Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells’, is a series of books describing the natural features, and views from the summits of 214 Lakeland fells. Consisting of seven volumes the books describe the eastern fells, the central fells, the southern fells and the northern fells. The books were very popular and still are today with many walkers. More books followed including guides to other areas of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales.

    Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells - Alfred Wainwright

    One of the most popular is the “Coast to Coast” walk from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. This was a walk designed by Wainwright himself and set out in his pictorial guide in 1973. The 190 - mile walk was voted the second best walk in the world in 2003 by a panel of experts and was featured by Julia Bradbury in her 2009 series for the BBC. The walk has since become very popular with more and more people taking on Wainwrights popular route.

    To find out more about the ‘Coast to Coast’ walk visit:

    https://www.wainwright.org.uk/coasttocoast.html

    During his time Wainwright recorded and illustrated over 214 fells in the lakes. To see all 214 fells listed by Alfred Wainwright visit

    https://www.thewhitespider.com/info/wainwrights

    Alfred Wainwright died in 1991 and his ashes were scattered on his favourite mountain Haystacks by the quiet waters of Innominate Tarn. This was Alfred’s wish described in his book ‘Fellwanderer’.

    To find out more about Alfred Wainwright visit

    https://www.wainwright.org.uk/about_aw.html

  • Local Artist Christine Shaw

    Local artist Christine Shaw will be displaying her artwork at Allan Bank in Grasmere from the 4th April till the end of May. Christine has combined fine pen and ink with Japanese papers to create striking original pieces of art. The artwork can be brought with a percentage of the sales going towards supporting Allan Bank for the future.

    To find out more about the event visit

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/80914e3c-2a08-448f-9199-9ac7a32c218a/pages/details

    Our social media assistant, Holly Goddard contacted Christine to find out more about the exhibition and her work. 

    A brief description of yourself and your work

    Christine Shaw

    'I was Born in Glasgow, Scotland where I studied Textile Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee graduating in 1979. I then moved to Manchester to study for a Post Graduate Diploma in Clothing Technology. Having completed my studies, I moved to the Lake District to take up an offer of seasonal work in Grasmere and never left. Having recently retired from our family business designing and retailing fabrics and knitwear which were exported around the World I am enjoying having time to combine two of my favourite things, Japan and Art. Many of my customers were Japanese and I found the culture fascinating. I like to combine Japanese paper with fine pen drawing using Rotring Pen or Derwent Pens and pencils which are made locally, so feel I am mixing a little of the Lake District with Japan. Although I do have a few Limited Edition Risograph prints for sale most of my work is original, I like the concept of someone being able to purchase a unique work of art.'

    Is there anything in particular that inspires your work?

    'I think  my Artist statement says it all. I love the Lake District and also Japan. We used to have a little group in Grasmere of Japanese working in the area and those of us trying to learn the language. We had Damson (instead of Cherry blossom viewing) Moon viewing parties and lots of cookery fun. Having originally trained as a textile designer Japan has everything I adore, stunning texts and kimono fabrics, washiest paper, exquisite stationery, pens and pencils.'

     Have displayed your work at Allan Bank in the past?

    'I did work at Allan Bank when it opened as a property and was there for several years. It is a place that gets under your skin and I am happy to be able to help raise money for the upkeep of this property through my art work. I have previously exhibited at Case Art in Glasgow and a solo exhibition at National Trust Church Stile in Grasmere.'

    Christine’s work is available from the Bumblebee Gallery in Kendal and will be available later this year at Beck Steps Gallery in Grasmere. To find out more about the Bumblebee Gallery visit

    https://www.bumblebeegallery.co.uk

    Christine also works part time at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere. To find out more about the Heaton Cooper Studio visit

    https://www.heatoncooper.co.uk

    Alternatively, you can follow Christine on Twitter @cragchris or email  cragchris@msn.com

    Christine also writes a series of blogs on Grasmere village, the Lake District and her art which can be found below

    https://amblesideart.wordpress.com/

    https://grasmerevillage.wordpress.com/

    https://englishlakes.wordpress.com/

    Christine has done a lot for Greens over the years and we would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her ongoing support.