Another year gone, and a round up of what happened in Grasmere Village in 2016. It was a year many won’t forget in a hurry. We might be a small village but there is always something going on. Especially this year, Prince and Prime Minister, Cyclists and Wrestlers it was all happening this year.
After the stress and strain of Storm Desmond it was lovely to discover that a sunny photograph of National Trust Property Allan Bank graced the front of the 2016 Handbook. A great advert for the village.
Unfortunately things were very quiet in the village. The main A591 closed between Grasmere and Keswick and the village literally a cul-de-sac. Various initiatives like free parking were offered but it really was deserted as you wandered round.
We had a visit from the then Prime Minister David Cameron spotted in the school playground.
Snow on the tops in February and then on lower ground too.
Valentine’s Day visit to the Dove Cottage restaurant was a surprise with a cherry “heart” when I cut my cake. Very appropriate and tasty too!.
Meanwhile the environment agency were dredging the River Rothay, taking care to not disturb the crayfish, and these canoeists were quick to take advantage of a new launching area into the river. Storm Desmond was still having it’s effect.
After a dismal Winter signs of Spring were appearing with snowdrops and Daffodils at Wordsworth’s Grave.
The rubble that was piling up on the Sports Field after all the dredging was a perfect viewpoint for this cheeky Herdwick.
Elsewhere in Grasmere and throughout the central Lakes Herdwick sheep of a different kind were appearing as part of the Calvert Trust Go Herdwick fund raising initiative.
Temporary bridges were built on the A591 and a little mini bus started running between Grasmere and Keswick, my goodness it was popular! It ran along the far side of Thirlmere and became quite a tourist attraction in itself.
We had another famous visitor. Prince Charles visited with a trip to the Gingerbread Shop, Wordsworth’s Grave and St Oswald’s Church.
It certainly made the village busier.
April and things were looking up in the village both visitor and weather wise.
An exciting initiative in May brought coloured lights to the mere. Nocturnal Rainbows as part of Lakes Ignite Art installation.
As the tourist season started properly it was still a case of getting the message out everywhere that Grasmere was open for business.
Grasmere does look great in May, blossom and bluebells.
Bannerigg Woods were a sea of blue.
And then at last! Dunmail Raise was open and Grasmere was connected with the North again. Hello Keswick we missed you.
Diessen Brass Band (twinned with Windermere) performed at NT Allan Bank and the music echoed through the valley.
Grasmere celebrated The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
The village looked lovely with flags flying everywhere.
Grasmere Glee celebrated in the Village Hall.
Kendal Mountain Festival kindly brought outdoor cinema to Grasmere and Glenridding to support the flooded villages. The weather was kind and a great time was had by young and old alike.
July in Grasmere means Rushbearing. A rather wet one this year and the Rushbearing Maidens had a rather soggy walk round the village but kept smiling.
But it wasn’t all rain in July, the sun shone too.
August Bank Holiday and the 166th Grasmere Sports and Show. After a night of rain morning broke fair and a good turnout of visitors and locals alike enjoyed the Sports and entertainment on the Sports field.
Competitors travelled from all over the world to compete.
Fire eating was a popular spectator event.
Cycling came to Grasmere in September when the Tour of Britain sped through the village.
The village was decorated with painted yellow bikes.
Halloween in Grasmere meant an abundance of Pumpkins throughout the village.
Unfortunately Halloween weekend itself was a bit of a washout and the pumpkins on the village green looked a bit bedraggled.
Liked these pumpkins outside the Gingerbread shop.
Nights drawing in and streets empty by 5pm as the clocks change. Locals practice a form of reverse hibernation and suddenly you bump into friends in the street who have had heads down all Summer working hard to make our visitors to Grasmere enjoy their stay.
I was very, very lucky to win a holiday to South Africa for most of November so from 24 degrees to -4 degrees, however what a sight as we arrived back.
What a great welcome home!
December in Grasmere, what a joy.
You never know who will be about, Taffy Thomas former Storyteller Laureate was having a wander round the village with some student teachers.
The shops have a huge array of individual gifts you can’t find in the larger towns.
A wander up the hill to National Trust Allan Bank and the sound of bells were ringing out as the Beetham Bellringers played. Very festive.
Just time to put the Christmas tree complete with Herdy bobbles up and that’s nearly it for another Grasmere year. Grasmere Players Pantomime still to see, always a great family occasion.
Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and Health and Happiness for the coming year.
We really have been having some gorgeous weather in Grasmere recently. It has been wonderful to see people sitting outside pubs and cafes soaking up the sunshine. Business has picked up since the A591 has reopened and things are more or less back to normal.
Almost overnight flags have appeared in the village as Grasmere gets ready to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
If you are in Grasmere on Saturday 11th June why not come and join us. From 1-4pm we will be inviting people to bring their own picnic to the park. A little bird tells me The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa might even be offering complementary strawberries and cream.
In the park on Saturday there will be sports and trophies for all ages, Kendal Concert Band will be playing and Grasmere Glee Club. Grasmere Players will also be performing.
On Sunday 12th June at 4pm there will be a service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Life.
A well known face in Grasmere Cameron Butland will be back to lead the service and there will be tea and cake for everyone afterwards.
So as you can see we are all ready to celebrate, lets hope the weather holds out just a little longer.
How many more flags will spring up tomorrow?
You will just have to visit us and see over the weekend.
Written in memory of my Father in law who built the shop above. Long time lover and resident of Grasmere.
Eric Shaw. Died 25/5/2016 a month from his 99th Birthday.
Well we are now a few days in since the floods which certainly had an effect on our village. How are things now.
Well I never knew how heavy underfelt was when it was saturated with water. However the carpets are up.
Workmen are checking everything is safe.
The road that was being washed away is being reinstated. So it’s just a case of waiting for everything to dry out and getting back to normal. In the rest of the village it’s the same story.
Bin bags of spoilt stock, carpets and muck swept down from the hillside.
Apart from the odd side road all roads are clear. Our main problem is the A591 going North to Keswick which has been washed away, making Grasmere the end of the road. A huge detour down the M6 is now necessary. Bus services now terminate and start at Grasmere but the roads from the South are now all clear.
Today signs of normality were all around. Happy children playing in the school yard. Parents worked quickly to get the flooded school back to normal. A Tesco delivery van who had to wheel shopping quite a distance to homeowners.
The church which was flooded was again cleared out and brought back to normal by a band of volunteers who rallied round really quickly. I understand there is a wedding here on Saturday, so business as usual.
So despite the floods Grasmere is bouncing back. Shops are open. Hotels are open, and we really need you to come, do your Christmas shopping, and help us get back to normal. The famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop is open and looking lovely for Christmas.
The National Trust shop is open and has a wonderful selection of gifts, all for charity too.
Independent Bookshop Sam Reads is open and has a wonderful selection of books for all tastes. Brilliant children’s section too.
Jigsaw heaven at our local newsagent Barneys Newsbox one of the largest collections of jigsaws anywhere, just head up the stairs and you will see what I mean.
The shop I could spend a fortune in. Great source of art supplies at Heaton Cooper Studios. Gifts and prints. Open for business.
And Grasmere wouldn’t be Grasmere without the Herdy shop. Open with a great range of exclusive gifts.
Attic shop was looking ready for Christmas and I couldn’t resist browsing the enticing range of gifts.
Hotels are open too and ready for visitors.
They all have decorations up and are looking forward to visitors for the festive season.
I happened to be in the Red Lion Hotel today. Looking very Christmassy downstairs however not all was as it should be upstairs.
The swimming pool was closed due to flooding.
So that’s the story a few days on. People have rallied round. Farmers have suffered greatly and a lot of people I have spoken to are not insured or cannot wait for Insurers to give the okay to proceed. Time is money, Christmas is coming.
I have a sign in my hall. As the rain started again today I kept looking at it and trying to believe.
The rain is falling heavily again tonight.
October in Grasmere has been an amazing month for rainbows.
The beautiful weather we had over the summer has led to sunshine and showers and with the showers, rainbows. Lots of rainbows!
Early morning has been beautiful too. Great cloud inversions looking towards the mere.
and once the clouds dispersed a little, wonderful reflections.
October in Grasmere also means Autumn Festival and thoughts of Harvest. It was pouring down this morning but this display in the entrance to St Oswald’s Church brightened up the morning.
Crossing the road at Church Stile I noticed the National Trust shop was looking very Autumnal too.
Halloween is also fast approaching and in College street the Herdy shop was brightening up a rainy day.
Lucia’s Takeaway had been busy with their own personalised pumpkin.
and at National Trust Allan Bank it was pumpkin central as they were having a pumpkin trail over the half term holiday.
Cocoa Hearts chocolate shop had lots of people sheltering from the rain making chocolates to take home.
and a witch seemed to have taken up residence in the Good Bag shop next door.
So despite the rain, Autumn is a great time to be in Grasmere, and when the clouds part…..
the views can be truly spectacular.
So keep an eye open for rainbows, and Happy Halloween everyone.
Having a few days off work and awoke to rain. Despite having a sign in my hall saying “A tidy house is the sign of a boring woman” I started doing the job I hate most. Defrosting the freezer. Soon lost interest, and left it to it. Wandered up the village, and saw two people gazing in a melancholy fashion from a holiday cottage window. This got me thinking. There is so much to do on a rainy day in Grasmere, I almost knocked on the door, told them to grab their coats and follow me!.
First port of call, another look round the Lakes Artists Society Exhibition in the Village Hall. This usually runs from end July till beginning of September every summer and is open daily. Founded in 1904 by artist W.G.Collingwood (secretary to John Ruskin no less). Membership is limited to 45 artists all who must reside in the Lake District.
A fascinating mix of painting and sculpture. For more info see http://www.lakeartists.org.uk
Next stop. Barney’s Newsbox on Broadgate Grasmere.
Now while you may have bought your newspapers from here while visiting Grasmere, have you ventured upstairs?. Home to over 20,000 jigsaws, you can’t fail to find something to while away a few hours, or more!
A few pieces, many pieces, jigsaws for young and old, take a look you will be amazed.
Can’t manage to Grasmere, they ship Worldwide. http://www.jigsawsuk.co.uk
Grasmere is lucky to have lots of independent shops, and that’s what makes it so interesting. One of my favourites is Sam Read Bookseller. Established in 1887 this is the place to browse for every type of book imaginable. Snuggle up on the couch of your holiday home or guest house, listen to the rain against the window, and transport yourself into another world.
Situated on the corner of Broadgate and College Street Grasmere, you will be surprised by what you find inside. Very helpful staff, with great knowledge to find you just the right holiday read.
To see a selection of their books, maps and other reading material. http://www.samreadbooks.co.uk situated next door is Lucia’s Takeaway Coffee Shop, great for a quick snack or picnic item. On sunny day’s you can borrow a sit mat to use on the village green opposite while you eat.
Across the green is situated Heaton Cooper Studio. Another family business that was established in 1905. I don’t think I have ever managed to get out of here without making a purchase from their wonderful art shop. This time wasn’t any different!
The Gallery features work by several generations of the Heaton Cooper Family. Wonderful images of the Lake District in all it’s glory.
They also have a new exhibition space. A great addition and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the exhibition currently on, entitled “Working The Landscape”.
Have a look at their website to see what’s on when you visit. http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk
Walk out and turn to your right. Another wet weather idea is National Trust Allan Bank situated up the lane to the side of the Miller Howe Cafe. This is not your normal National Trust experience. A quirky house, once lived in by Wordsworth and co-founder of the Trust Cannon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Each room has a loose theme, Art Room, Play room, etc. No ropes and no “Do not touch” signs.
It now features a kitchen cafe with a great selection of cakes.
Dogs are welcome in the house too, so no need to leave four legged friends behind. Another interesting room has the Chorley Hopkinson Mountaineering Library in it, so if it’s not the weather for climbing you can at least read about your next adventure.
Plenty for children and adults alike to do. Sit beside the roaring fire and read the complimentary newspapers while the children paint a masterpiece. Fantastic views too, even on a miserable day.
Best of all there are red squirrels at Allan Bank and they seem to like the wet weather best. Sit at the window and see what you can spot.
No squirrels about? You never know what animal you might find (dressing up optional!).
Allan Bank Information http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere/
So what else to do on a rainy Grasmere day? Pop in to St Oswald’s Church.
Buy some Grasmere Gingerbread. Always warming on a miserable day.
Or pay a visit to the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage another of Wordsworth’s homes in the village. They usually have a great exhibition on too.
And if all else fails. Treat yourself to a fab Herdy Umbrella and do a bit of singing in the rain!
So I hope this has given you some ideas of what to do on a rainy day in Grasmere. Only one problem. I spent so much time enjoying myself wandering round the village my freezer had defrosted it’s self all over the floor, so it was not only wet outside but inside too!
I always feel proud of Grasmere, but never more so than this morning. On my early morning walk there was a sign saying “use side entrance of church” so I did!.
In all the years I have been here, I have never seen such a sight. The interior of St Oswald’s Church was all decked out for a Jubilee Party.
The lucky children of Grasmere School were having a “street party” inside the church. Something they would no doubt remember for a long time. Each child’s name was made into a crown, and the scene was set.
That got me thinking. Why not photograph more of the businesses that had made an effort for the Jubilee. So here we go. All credit to the following for making things so nice for our visitors.
Potted Out Cafe had the flags flying over their door, and also these displays in their plant pots. Well they are part of the Garden Centre after all!
All Red, White and Blue in the Information Centre Window.
I think Sarah Nelson would have been very proud of the display the present family members had made of the Gingerbread Shop.
Next up, The Wordsworth Hotel.
Nearly got lead astray at this point as I could see everyone in the Hotel restaurant tucking into their breakfasts, which looked delicious!
Luckily Baldry’s Tearoom was shut, as they have the most yummy cakes you can imagine.
The flags were flying at Heidi’s Cafe. A great place to stock up on a packed lunch for your walk.
One of the oldest buildings in Grasmere. The Red Lion Hotel.
And the newest shop, just opened in a new home. Attic, full of wonderful gifts.
Loved the Heaton Cooper Studio window. Obviously making the most of the fact that we also have the Olympic Torch passing through the village as well.
Everyone’s favourite the totally cute Herdy shop.
A great base in the centre of the village. Beck Allans holiday cottages and Bed and Breakfast.
I suppose it was inevitable that the Storyteller Laureate of Great Britain would have the flags flying.
And guess what! Storyteller Taffy was at home. Full of tales of the events he was holding over the Jubilee holiday. In his newly spruced up garden, and as part of the Tales and Trails season, which take in walks to Helm Crag and Rydal Water.
He was also telling me about an event he is appearing at, at the newly re-opened Allan Bank. An evening of fairy stories and music for mid summer. Sounded great.
So there you have it. A little insight into Grasmere life. With events planned all over the 4 day holiday, it’s a great place to be. Hog roast, sports, concerts in the church and a beautifully decorated village. What more could you ask.
Finally, come rain or shine, I spotted these in an outdoor shop in the centre of the village. You too can be patriotic come rain or shine!
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012
The new season always brings a few changes to Grasmere. Shops open and shut, people come and go. This year however we have a welcome addition to the Village.
As Grasmere is a busy tourist area, the recent loss of our Tourist Information Centre was of great concern to traders and locals alike. With nowhere to welcome our visitors and provide local information it didn’t give a very good impression to visitors from all over the world.
National Trust had previously had a shop at Church Stile Grasmere which had closed some years ago and had more recently been occupied by Taffy Thomas Storyteller Laureate. Taffy no longer needed the whole building (his Storytellers Garden is still located here) so the good folk from National Trust decided to not only open a shop again, but to also include a much needed information Centre.
I have written previously about the history of this Grade Two Listed Building, but a quick resume. Earliest recorded occupant was a Richard Harrison who died in 1662. By the 18th Century the building had become Robert Newton’s Inn. This was visited by William Wordsworth and his brother John, along with Coleridge on their Lake District tour of 1797. It was also a welcome meeting place for coffin bearers who had to carry the dead in all weathers from the Parishes of Ambleside and Langdale to the Church in Grasmere. A more recent resident was Robert Hayes (1859-1947) who had a market garden and specialised in varieties of heather. A far cry from the Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside today!.
The Information Centre includes a comfortable space for people to browse local Information, pick up a bus timetable, and find out information about local events and walks. It is hoped to eventually have the fire going in the winter which would look wonderful. National Trust properties and areas like Aira Force are featured on the walls. Brochures and information about their properties in the area feature too and with places like Sizergh Castle, Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop, Wordsworth’s House at Cockermouth and the wonderful Townend to visit, there should be something for everyone. Staff are able to download local walks, and it’s hoped that at some stage in the future National Trust Rangers will use the space to meet and chat with visitors and tell them a bit about their work in looking after the area.
Connected to the Information Centre is a National Trust Shop, but not just any shop!. Local crafts and producers are featured, including such favourites as Hawkshead Relish, Herdwick Rugs and even little cute Herdwick Sheep.
Walkers haven’t been forgotten either. Books, maps, Handihikes, and local Grasmere walks on waterproof paper (who said it always rains in the Lake District) are available.
One of the most popular purchases in the shop is the new Tubular Fells map, available framed or unframed which features all the Wainwrights in the form of a London tube map. Very clever!.
So why not pop in and say hello next time you are in Grasmere. Keeping ahead of the times they are even on Twitter @NTGrasmereshop so if you can’t manage a visit in person you can still keep up to date with local news.
National Trust Information Centre and Shop, Church Stile, Grasmere. Beside the Gingerbread shop and St Oswald’s Church in the centre of the village.