• Otters in the Lake District

    Otters are considered to be England’s top predator, masterful at catching a variety of prey including fish and small birds. These semi – aquatic mammals are usually spotted playing in the rivers with their thick fur protecting them from the cold waters. Their webbed feet, dense fur (to keep them warm) and ability to close their eyes and nose underwater makes them well suited to life In the water. Otters have their cubs in underground burrows known as a ‘holt’. Excellent and lithe swimmers, cubs are introduced and adjusted to the water by 10 weeks of age. The length of an otter is 90cm with a tail of 45cm and has an average life span of up to 10 years.


    During the last century otters faced extinction, but their numbers have steadily increased due to the clear up of waterways, certain pesticides being banned, and conservation projects being set up.

    Otters can often be seen playing in the rivers that feed the lakes such as Derwentwater near Keswick. There have also been other sightings including the River Kent by Kendal and around Lake Windermere.

  • Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Shop

    Aside from it’s connections to poet William Wordsworth, Grasmere is also famous for it’s gingerbread. The famous ‘Grasmere Gingerbread’ is made using a ‘special recipe’ created by Sarah Nelson. Victorian cook, Sarah Nelson, invented 'Grasmere Gingerbread' in 1854 in the village from which it gets its name. A unique, spicy – sweet cross between a biscuit and cake, it’s reputation quickly spread and is now enjoyed by food lovers all over the world. Visitors of Grasmere are greeted by the wonderful aroma of freshly baked gingerbread coming from The Gingerbread Shop. Aside from selling the famous ‘Grasmere Gingerbread’, the shop also sells it’s own award winning rum butter, toffee, fudges, chocolates, conserves, Kendal Mint Cake and more.

    Who was Sarah Nelson and how did she come to make the famous Grasmere Gingerbread?

    Sarah Nelson was born in 1815 in the small village of Bowness of Windermere. One of two children, Sarah had a younger sister called Ann. Both Ann and Sarah had limited education available to them where learning the art of domesticity was the best gift their mother could give them. During the 19th Century, skivvying for wealthy families was one of the few realistic carers for working class women.

    Working in local big houses Sarah learnt as much as she could, observing the working ways of higher placed and more skilled staff. She eventually worked her way up to the position of cook in a Kendal household. During her time as a cook, Nelson became a creative cook adding to her skills, where she then moved to a household in Penrith. It was there she met her soon to be husband, Wilfred Nelson. They went on to have three children, a son and two daughters. Sadly, their son fell ill to cholera and later died, both Sarah and Wilfred were devastated. Fearing their daughters may get ill too, they moved to the picturesque village of Grasmere.

    Despite being a long distance from major towns and cities, Sarah and Wilfred pulled through. Wilfred worked as a grave digger in St Oswald’s Churchyard and for a local builder whilst Sarah took on washing, cooking and baking for larger houses in the District. Working for Dale Lodge, the seasonal home of Lady Maria Farquhar, Sarah stocked her pantry with cakes and biscuits. As well as preparing savoury dishes for the mistress of the house, Sarah stocked her pantry with homemade cakes and biscuits.

    The exact time of which Sarah Nelson made her famous gingerbread is unknown but is believed to have been made during the winter of 1854. Neither a biscuit nor a cake but somewhere in-between, no-one had ever tasted anything similar before. Still working at Dale Lodge, Sarah began selling slices of ‘Grasmere Gingerbread’ wrapped in parchment to villagers and tourists outside her home.

    As the 19th Century wore on, Sarah was known as ‘Baker and Confectioner of Church Cottage’. Sarah placed her handwritten secret recipe in a local bank vault to keep it safe. The recipe is still kept secret today and is the same recipe Nelson used to make her famous gingerbread. Sarah passed away in 1904, aged 88, but her legacy lives on which sees her famous gingerbread being made to the present day.

  • 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:


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


    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


  • 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


    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


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


    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




    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.

  • Red Bank from White Moss

    Located in the beautiful Lake District we are surrounded by a number of breath – taking walks for you to explore.

    Take a morning stroll to Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside. The walk takes you along Loughrigg Terrace and through the beautiful woodland of Red Bank. On return come across the calm waters of Grasmere and Grasmere Lake. Grasmere is one of the most popular villages in the lakes and is home to lake poet William Wordsworth. Loughrigg Terrace is located between Grasmere and Rydal and is known for its stunning views of bluebells between spring and summer.

    For a further insight into this walk and directions please visit


  • Grisedale Tarn

    Here in the lakes we are surrounded by some breath - taking walks for you to explore such as Grisedale Tarn.

    Grisedale Tarn sits high in the mountains at the head of three valleys. Surrounding the tarn is the great Helvellyn ridge, Dollywaggon Pike to the north and the bulks of Fairfield and Seat Sandal to the south. Dollywaggon Pike stands on the main pike of the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells between Thirlmere and Ullswater.

    The best place to start this walk is the other side of Dummail Rise. According to its history and legend a great battle was fought in 945AD between the Saxon King and Celtic King Dummail. Dummail was killed and his crown taken up the steep path alongside Grisedale Beck and cast into the tarn. This then fell into the Saxons hands where it was never to be seen again. It was said the crown was enchanted and gave the wearer a right to the Kingdom of Cumberland.

    For a further insight into this walk and directions please visit:


  • The Lake District and it's mountains

    Surrounded by sloping fells and picturesque villages the Lake District is home to England’s highest mountains. There is no official definition of how high a hill can be in order to be a mountain some regions specify 1,000 feet others say 2,000 feet. Walking is the most popular Lake District visitor attraction with approximately 15 million pairs of feet walking along the winding paths and mountains. This can cause some moderate damage to the footpaths but are maintained and repaired through a ‘Fix the Fells’ partnership.

    Here are just a few of them to set your sights high on your next adventure.

    Scafell Pike

    Height: 978 meters

    Scafell Pike is home to the highest standing water in England known as Broad Crag Tarn which lies a quarter mile south to the summit. The mountain forms the middle part of The Three Peaks Challenge where walkers attempt to reach the summits of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within a 24-hour period. Reaching the top of the summit the views have inspired by many writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Baines, and Wainwright. The mountain was donated to The National Trust by Lord Leconfield in memory of the men of the lake District who fell in the First World War.


    Height: 964 meters

    Helvellyn is the third highest mountain in the Lake District and England and is one of Britain’s most popular walks. Its distinctive corries and sharp ridges were carved by glaciers during the ice age. The highest point of Helvellyn is a cairn atop a rise in the cliff edge a few hundred meters to the south – east.

    During the Winter months, this is a serious and demanding walk that should only be undertaken by those with the appropriate skills and experience with the right equipment. From December to April Fell Top Assessors climb Helvellyn daily to report on the weather and ground conditions. You can join the Fell Top Assessors for a day on a winter skills course, to learn the basics of how to use an ice axe and crampons for winter walking. They report to the Met Office 365 days a year to keep local residents and visitors up to date with local weather conditions.

    You can follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LakesWeather?lang=en-gb or attentively visit The Fell Top Assessors website at



    Height: 931 meters

    Skiddaw mountain stands tall in the north lakes overlooking the town of Keswick and Derwent Water. To the west of the mountain is the Newlands valley and Bassenthwaite Lake, which cuts Skiddaw range off from the North Western Fells. The mountain has a grand majestic appearance emphasized by the surrounding valleys and fells. Wainwright described the mountain as “The summit is buttressed magnificently by a circle of lesser heights, all of them members of the proud Skiddaw family”.

    Great End

    Height 910 meters

    Great End is to the north of Scafell Pike and is a popular location for camping and climbing. From the south a lump and from the north an immense mountain with an imposing north face rising above Sprinkling Tarn. The tarn is popular with anglers known for its trout and a rare fish vendace. Alfred Wainwright wrote of Great End in his ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’ “This is the true Lakeland of the fellwalker, the sort of terrain that calls him back time after time”.


    Height 902 meters

    Bowfell is a pyramid - shaped mountain and sits between Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes. The Langdale Pikes are made up of Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, and Harrison Stickle which offer spectacular views of Langdale. Take in breath - taking views of the summit with the Pennines to the east and The Isle of Man to the west. Located at the head of the Langdale valley. It is listed in Alfred Wainwright’s ‘best half dozen’ Lake District fells.

    Great Gable

    Height: 899 meters

    Great Gable is part of Scafell Pike and is named after its pyramid appearance from the valley of Wasdale. The mountain is a ’climbers’ mountain and is one of the most famous mountains in the lakes. The best route to take when climbing this mountain is through the Climbers Traverse and the Needles ridge. The transverse crosses the southern slopes of Gable on a visible but loose path with stupendous views down Wasdale and up over Napes and the Sphinx’s Head.

    When climbing any mountain preparation is key. Make sure you check the mountain forecast as this may determine ground conditions and visibility. Always take the right equipment with you and don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger.

    To check the mountain forecast visit: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/

    Happy climbing!