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Not the Grasmere we know. Covid-19 2020

I have always used this blog as my own personal diary. It’s seen a lot of different things happening in the village over the years but none so strange as the last few months. Everyone in the world (literally) knows the effect of Covid-19 so I won’t dwell on it.

When have we ever not wanted visitors in the village? As the poster says “extraordinary times”.

Grasmere St Oswald’s Church with the door closed. Grass growing long in the churchyard. No snaking line of tourists queuing up outside the gingerbread shop. Easter and Bank holidays with no visitors.

The Coop did an amazing job keeping the village supplied with essentials and were very proactive in keeping the shopping experience safe. Thank you Tom and staff.

Wouldn’t you just know it. The sun blazed down day after day. Going for fresh air and exercise was a pleasure but one couldn’t help feeling it was such a shame not to be able to share with visitors.

After a very wet start to the year we watched as the river practically dried up.

Spare time was spent making masks to keep family and friends safe.

The traditional Grasmere Sports and Rushbearing cancelled. Then, suddenly little shoots of hope.

No the circus hadn’t come to town, however due to the ingenuity of staff, children were at last able to attend school in a socially distanced way.

Herdwick sheep real and otherwise raised a cheer when non essential shops were allowed to open this week.

Hopefully Hotels, and other accommodation providers will follow soon, along with restaurants and pubs.

Visitors we have missed you. It’s been very quiet which although nice sometimes isn’t always a good thing. Let’s all respect each other, follow the safety guidelines and hopefully the sun will keep shining when you come back.

Cherry Blossom Time in Grasmere


Grasmere Cherry Blossom

Grasmere Cherry Blossom

I always think how much our Japanese visitors must feel at home in our village at this time of year as we do have some spectacular Cherry Blossom throughout the village, framing the views and proving an attraction in themselves.

Grasmere Churchyard Cherry tree

Grasmere Churchyard Cherry tree

The Cherry tree in the Churchyard is a particularly beautiful one, especially when reflected in the River Rothay

Grasmere Cherry Tree

Grasmere Churchyard Cherry Tree

White Cherry Blossom

White Cherry Blossom

Outside Heaton Cooper Studio and Gallery is a well established tree.

Cherry Blossom

Blossom with a view

River Rothay and Sakura

Falling Blossom Grasmere

Falling blossom Grasmere

College Street Grasmere Petals

A beautiful time of year to visit our village, even when the petals start to fall for another year.


Grasmere Rushbearing 2016

Grasmere Rushbearing 2016 was rather a wet one. It became obvious fairly early on in the day that the rain wasn’t going to ease up.


Grasmere Rushbearing Maiden

Grasmere Rushbearing Maiden

With good spirit everyone dressed for the weather and started to parade through the town.

Grasmere Rushbearing 2016

Procession passes along Churchstile

I thought the owner of Bridge House Hotel in the centre of this photo looked rather happy about something and later discovered she had become a Grandmother for the second time very early that morning!

Singing the Rushbearing Hymn

Singing the Rushbearing Hymn

Normally everyone gathers on the village green to sing the traditional Rushbearing hymns but the ground was a bit soggy so a stop was made on College Street instead.


Grasmere Rushbearing Maidens

Grasmere Rushbearing Maidens

I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for the Rushbearing maidens. While everyone else had the benefit of a waterproof coat they had to tough it out in traditional costume.

A rather wet Rushbearing

A rather wet Rushbearing

I noticed more than one person dashing in to Lucia’s for a takeaway coffee to warm up with.

Children in the parade

Children in the parade

Time to head back to St Oswald’s Church

Bearings and Umbrellas

Bearings and Umbrellas

I think umbrellas brighten up the parade on a rainy day.

Processing down Church Stile Grasmere

Processing down Church Stile Grasmere

Taffy Thomas the storyteller always has a good view point from the Storytellers Garden.

A welcome sight

A welcome sight

Back at church and time to get inside and dry off before a welcome cup of tea.

Grasmere Rushbearing Parade

Grasmere Rushbearing Parade

Now all the time I was watching there was one thing that I kept thinking. How heavy must the cloth the Rushbearing Maidens were carrying have got as it was absolutely sodden by the end.

Grasmere Rushbearing Maidens 2016

Grasmere Rushbearing Maidens 2016

So well done girls you did a great job!

Anyone who wants to see photos of sunny Rushbearing parades need look no further than this blog. You win some and you lose some but no matter the weather the show goes on.


Grasmere Celebrates The Queen’s 90th Birthday

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.

Grasmere flags are flying

Grasmere flags are flying

Almost overnight flags have appeared in the village as Grasmere gets ready to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday.

Grasmere celebrations

Grasmere celebrations

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.

Miller Howe Cafe Grasmere

Miller Howe Cafe Grasmere

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.

Heaton Cooper Grasmere Window

Heaton Cooper Grasmere Window

On Sunday 12th June at 4pm there will be a service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Life.

St Oswald's Church

St Oswald’s Church Grasmere

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.

St Oswald's Grasmere

St Oswald’s Grasmere

So as you can see we are all ready to celebrate, lets hope the weather holds out just a little longer.

Grasmere Village

Grasmere Village

How many more flags will spring up tomorrow?

Cunninghams Grasmere

Cunninghams Grasmere

You will just have to visit us and see over the weekend.

Mountain Warehouse Grasmere

Mountain Warehouse Grasmere


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.

Eric Grasmere Sports age 7

Eric Grasmere Sports aged 7

Grasmere Riverside Walk

River Rothay Grasmere

This is a nice little circular walk round the village and takes you away from the traffic heading through the village. Suitable for wheelchairs and prams too, although it can get a bit muddy after heavy rain. It can be accessed from various places in the village.

Grasmere School

I started at the Stock Lane car park and walked along Stock Lane into the village past the village school, there used to be access through the school yard but this has been stopped as it wasn’t great when the children were out playing having random walkers crossing the playground. You can still connect to it this way at School holidays and weekends. Handy to know you can also park in the school yard during these times for a small donation through the school letter box for school funds.

Church Bridge

Crossing the river at church bridge you come to St. Oswalds church.

St Oswalds Church Grasmere

Dedicated to St Oswald, a 7th Century king of Northumbria. The oldest parts of the present church date back to Medieval times. Take the path through the churchyard which comes out at the Grasmere Gingerbread shop.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

The aroma will reach you before you get there. Hard to believe this tiny building was once the village school. You can also take a slight detour to your right to the Grasmere Daffodil Garden. Across from the gingerbread shop is Church Stile.

Church Stile Grasmere

A row of 17th century cottages which house the Storytellers Garden. Always worth a visit if Taffy Thomas Storyteller Laureate is at home.

You can go down to the right of the gingerbread shop beside the Wordsworth Hotel to join the riverside walk but we are carrying on through the village. Keep straight on and walk up College Street. On your right is the village green with Heaton Cooper Art Studios in front of you.

Heaton Cooper Studios Grasmere

Sam Read’s bookshop is to your left. Grasmere has a wonderful selection of independent and individual shops you won’t find anywhere else.

Sam Read's Bookshop Grasmere

Turn left at Sam Read’s and you are now on Broadgate. The whitewashed cottage across the open field to your left is a listed building called Dockwray. Dorothy Wordsworth recorded in her Grasmere Journal a visit to the cottage on May 28th 1800 to see her friend Jenny Dockewray.

Broadgate Grasmere

Walk along Broadgate until you reach the village Hall just beyond the row of shops. This is where the annual Lakes Artists Exhibition takes place in the summer. Turn down the side signposted car park while looking to your left over Broadgate meadow. You will see Grasmere’s war memorial located on a grassy bank. Close by is the “Peace oak” planted by Canon Rawnsley founder of the National Trust. It was planted on the 19th July 1919 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the start of the Great War.

Surrounding Fells

At the far side of the car park is a footbridge over the River Rothay, this is where we are going. From here there are great views of the Fells to the East especially Stone Arthur, with it’s rocky summit, and Heron Pike the fell further to the right. The rest of the walk is along the riverside back in the direction we started from. There are several good opportunities to take photos along the way.

Grasmere signpost

You can cut up to the main road at one point or head across the fields to the Swan Hotel. In the summer months red campion flowers along the riverbank, and if you are very lucky you may see a flash of blue as a Kingfisher darts by.

Grasmere Riverside Walk

After crossing a wooden bridge, carry on until you come to a metal bridge. This is the Millennium Bridge,

Grasmere Millennium Bridge

Built, yes you guessed it, to celebrate the Millennium.

Millenium Stone

Cross over and head to the right  with Grasmere Sports field on your left,past the workingmans club and along the little lane to your left.

Grasmere Sports Field

This brings you back to the main carpark where we started. There are toilets situated here but be aware they are not open in the winter months. That’s the Riverside walk finished but perhaps visit Dove Cottage which is out of the car park to your left, and rounds off the day nicely. Nice tea rooms there too.

Grasmere Church and Cherry Blossom

Grasmere Church, dedicated to St. Oswald the Northumbrian King, stands on the bank of the River Rothay.

St Oswalds Church Grasmere.

The oldest part of the present church is thought to have dated from the twelfth or thirteenth century. Wordsworth who used to live in the Rectory at Grasmere at one time describes the church in his poem “The Excursion”:

“Not raised in nice proportions, was the Pile,

But large and massy, for duration built,

With pillars crowded and the roof upheld,

By naked rafters intricately crossed”

Grasmere Churchyard.

To commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 a flowering cherry tree was planted in the churchyard by the two oldest Grasmere born residents, Robert Peel of Lancrigg Lodge and his brother Penny Peel of Field Side. It is a beautiful sight and of course we have many Japanese visitors who enjoy the Sakura blossom.

Cherry Blossom, Grasmere Churchyard.

Just beside Grasmere Church is Grasmere Daffodil Garden which can be seen from the graveyard.

Looking towards Grasmere Daffodil Garden.

And from the garden you can see the bridge over the River Rothay with the tea gardens to the side. A nice place to sit and admire the cherry tree and the local ducks.

River Rothay Grasmere.

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