• Red Deer

    Although associated with the Highlands of Scotland, there is a healthy population of Red Deer within The Lake District.

    The Red Deer is the largest deer in the UK and is often found on moorland, mountains and grassland near to woodland. They are identified by their dark - russet brown fur with a paler buff rump patch and a pale tail. Male Red Deer have large branching antlers which increase in size as they get older. A male red deer is called a ‘stag’ and females are called a ‘hind’. During the breeding season males bellow to proclaim their territory and will fight over the females, sometimes injuring themselves with their sharp antlers.

    Red Deer can be spotted at Grizedale forest near Windermere and Foulshaw Moss in the South East of the Lake District.

  • St Oswald's Church

    St Oswald’s Church is the parish church of Grasmere. The church is named after St Oswald, a 7th century Christian King of Northumberland. The parish church of Grasmere, Rydal and Langdale have their own sperate gate to the church yard. St Oswald's Church is the resting place of William Wordsworth and his family. Near the organ is a glass case containing Wordsworth’s prayer book and the tombstones of Wordsworth and his family can be found in the church graveyard. St Oswald's offers worship, music, poetry and celebrations today, as well as superb views of the fells that can be seen through the clear east window.

    To find out more about St Oswald’s Church visit https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/12407/

  • Allan Bank - National Trust Property

    Allan Bank is a large Georgian house overlooking the village of Grasmere, once home to the late poet William Wordsworth. The house is perched on a rocky hillside above the village with the view of a craggy fell behind.

    In 1808, Wordsworth and his wife Mary moved into Allan bank with their three children. Also living with them was Mary’s sister and their literacy acquaintances, Thomas De Quincy and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They lived in the house for two years but moved out shortly after as the chimneys smoked excessively and arguments with the landlord took place. The house was brought in 1915 by Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, a founder of the National Trust. He brought the house after he retired and spent his retirement in the picturesque village of Grasmere. The house was left to the National Trust in 1920 after his passing.

    In March 2011, a huge fire broke out at Allan Bank, one of the largest fires Grasmere has ever seen. After the fire, the National Trust decided that the house should be restored and open to the public. The house has undergone an extensive restoration project with the building being left as a blank canvas for visitors to decide it’s future.

    Jeremy Barlow, the National Trust’s General Manager for the Central and East Lakes, explained how visitors can influence the appearance of the house;

    “This won’t be like other historic houses – you won’t find Wordsworth’s spectacles laid on a desk in his study. In each of the rooms we’ve given our visitors hints about the fascinating history of this lovely home and the chance to be creative in the way so many of it’s former occupants were.

    Each of the rooms of the house has been given a theme. The framed artists of the Heaton Copper family, who have a gallery in Grasmere village, have helped create the art room where visitors will be inspired by sketches of Allan Bank and the Lake District. In the room where Wordsworth once slept, we’ll be encouraging visitors to help us design the planting of the gardens, while song lyrics and famous quotes will inspire the writing on the wall – literally – in the literature room. Interior designers can get arty and even help influence the future paint colours of the interior, and there will be some intriguing ways of bringing the outdoors indoors in yet another of the interactive rooms”.

    The house is open most days during the summer and only a short period during winter. To avoid disappointment please check the opening times through the link provided.

    To find out more about Allan Bank and to plan your visit, visit:

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Grasmere and Rydal Water

    Located in the bustling village of Grasmere we are surrounded by a number of walks for you to explore.

    On this walk come across some stunning views and landmarks of Grasmere and Rydal water. The walk takes you on The Coffin Route which was the route taken to carry the dead to St Oswald’s church in Grasmere. Grasmere is one of the most popular villages in the lakes and is home to lake poet William Wordsworth.

    Rydal water is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District but makes up for it with its connections to lake poet William Wordsworth. Steps leading up to the lake come across ‘Wordsworth’s seat’ a favourite viewpoint of Wordsworths. The lake is tightly enclosed between the steep slopes of Loughrigg Fell and the Fairfield Forceshoe.

    For a further insight into this walk and directions please visit

    https://www.walklakes.co.uk/walk_76.html