A beautiful Spring day. As Allan Bank in Grasmere (a National Trust Property unlike any other) was open, I decided to take a wander up the hill and see what they were up to. This is the fifth year the property has been open and a while since I have written about it.
The property is a short walk from Grasmere (disabled parking on site) and has the most glorious views of Grasmere. The sun was shining and the daffodils were out. Lambs in the surrounding fields. Paradise!
Grasmere school children were enjoying the grounds as part of their Forest Schools activities. It looked as though they were having an Easter egg hunt.
The Art Room had been changed around over the Winter. Anyone adult or child can just sit down and use the art material provided to paint the amazing view out of the window.
In the kitchen cafe one of the volunteers (they are always looking for more) Janet was making Easter floral arrangements to decorate the tables. Tea and coffee are by donation and you can wander around the house, tea in hand.
Or if you are lucky grab a seat beside the roaring fire in Wordsworth’s Study, pick up a book and relax.
Allan Bank was once the home of Wordsworth and his young family but was also the home of Canon Hardwick Rawnsley one of the co-founders of the National Trust. This is the 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s Life and Canon Rawnsley was an inspiration to Beatrix when she was a young girl. He encouraged her creativity and also encouraged her in her love of the countryside.
Scattered around the house were cushions with quotes. I particularly liked the ones in the play room.
The play room was just waiting for little Easter visitors with books and toys to enjoy.
Allan Bank isn’t just for children. Upstairs is the Chorley Hopkins Mountaineering Library with a wealth of books on Mountaineering both in the Lake District and beyond.
Just along the corridor is a craft room where visiting crafters sometimes demonstrate lace making, printmaking etc. There are lots of vintage board games in here too. Looking out of the window you can quite often see the resident red squirrels but none today.
Just time for a quick look in the little shop, but the grounds were calling. Sunshine in the Lake District can’t be wasted.
In the grounds there is a fabulous woodland walk with great views. It is steep in places but well marked and resting places to be found. I had a little seat to look at the mere.
Next further up the path with a glimpse of Helm Crag in sight.
And finally Helm Crag in all it’s glory.
Something that hasn’t changed this year, or for a long time before is the old Victorian viewing tunnel in the grounds.
Time for a last cup of tea and tempted to cake by Sophie to round off my visit.
For more information about Allan Bank Grasmere see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere
Follow them on Facebook. National Trust Allan Bank or Twitter. @AllanbankNT
My previous Blogs with the history of Allan Bank.
Spring is arriving at last in the village. We now have a lifeline in the form of a bus link to Keswick so we aren’t feeling quite so isolated, and the work on the A591 needed after Storm Desmond is progressing. We can be easily accessed from the South or by the scenic route over Kirkstone Pass to the North. It is always a lovely time to visit. Snow on the fell tops, daffodils appearing, shops stocked up for the new season and hotels all spruced up over the winter. Some good bargain breaks at this time of year too.
Today we had rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, and that was just the morning!
It’s a funny thing but I suppose we all have our own idea of when Spring has arrived. The thing I always look for are the daffodils starting to flower at Wordsworth’s grave. Well today there were daffodils appearing everywhere.
Even in shop windows. This was a lovely Spring window display in Sam Read Bookshop and further down the road Herdy was getting in on the act too.
Of course the Lake District is always associated with daffodils because of William Wordsworth’s famous poem. Grasmere has it’s very own daffodil garden and you can find part of the poem reproduced there.
In the garden I would say the daffodils will be perfect just in time for Easter this year.
I decided to head round the riverside walk through Broadgate, then to the Mere.
The Environment Agency have been dredging the River Rothay since the floods in December and as I approached the other day I was amazed to see that as the digger exited the river, three canoeists appeared and used the slipway to launch their canoes! A nice bit of positive thinking.
They paddled along and the next thing I spotted them in the Mere.
We might have had a lot of rain over the winter but another advantage is that everything is looking very lush and green at the moment. As you can see Grasmere is ready for the new season, all that is missing are the visitors. Get yourselves up here, you don’t know what you are missing!
Well at last the rain has gone and things are looking a bit more seasonal in the village. Snow overnight and blue skies this morning mean January is looking more hopeful weather wise.
At the moment car parks in Grasmere are still free to help the local economy recover, however I visited all three car parks today and there were only a handful of cars in each. Roads were clear and it was a beautiful day. A slight worry.
Grasmere in weather like this is wonderful to visit.
Even if you don’t come to walk on the fells the village is like a winter wonderland.
Even a little wander round the riverside walk is a delight in the snow.
I was actually going to get my shopping from the Co-op, who could have a better trip to the shops!
Not a lot of people around here either. What a shame.
Can’t believe what everyone is missing. Shopping bought and still “wandering lonely”!
As I always do, went by the Wordsworth Graves to see if the snowdrops were out yet. Still “wandering lonely”.
Grasmere is open! Roads from the south are clear of snow it’s one of the best times to visit and we are ready to welcome you. Yes some shops are still recovering from flooding but we will all look shiny new for you very soon. The Grand at Grasmere has a brilliant new look. Lots of hotels and holiday homes have real bargains at this time of year and if you are worried about slipping in the snow, Mountain Warehouse were featuring a bargain in snow grips, so no excuse!
As I sat happily writing this blog the river burst it’s banks and was flooding Stock Lane yet again. Luckily we had time to act and despite lapping at the doorstep it has not come inside, new carpets remain dry (so far). Due to the landslips on the fell, water flooded down Greenhead Ghyll and into the river causing it to overflow. Urgent action is needed to clear becks. The A591 to the North of Grasmere remains closed after storm damage and this has to be treated with the utmost urgency. Coaches are not going to come to Grasmere if they then find they have to go back to the M6 Via Kendal again. People need to get to work in Keswick. Schoolchildren come from Keswick to Grasmere School. Grasmere is effectively a cul-de-sac at the moment. More than ever we need people to support local businesses to help everyone get back to normal. Anyway, on with the reasons why Grasmere is great to visit!
As another year is about to come to a close, and Storm Frank is blowing outside giving Grasmere a sense of uncertainty about flooding again, it seems like a good time to look back at 2015.
A seasonal start to the year. A little snow and blue skies.
Snow on the tops and snowdrops appearing at Wordsworth’s Grave in the churchyard.
And the daffodils appear in the daffodil garden. Spring at last
Was taking a photo of the rainbow but who can spot the low-flying jet too?
The days are getting longer and the sky is blue.
One of the best sights at this time of the year. Lambs in the fields.
June is a great time for wild flowers in Grasmere. This field below Helm Crag was a delight.
Wouldn’t be Grasmere without the annual Rushbearing Ceremony.
And perfect weather for tea by the mere and perhaps a row on the lake.
You never know what is round the corner in Grasmere. Here is our “rush hour traffic”.
Grasmere Sports day dawned dry and bright and a great day was had by young and old alike.
Loads of Butterflies this year. Good to see.
Early morning is glorious in Grasmere.
Some cracking Fungi in Grasmere this Autumn.
Great lighting at this time of year too.
Autumn in Grasmere, a riot of colour.
And then came the rain, which I’m not going to dwell on as I have written enough about that for the time being. Grasmere is open and and ready for visitors.
And Grasmere wouldn’t be Grasmere without the Annual Grasmere Players Panto.
The Best of Wishes for 2016 and why not make your resolution to visit our village. We are ready and waiting to give you the best holiday ever!
For my own reference as much as anything. Storm Frank 30/12/2015
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.
Little did I know when I wrote my last blog, that a few weeks later on, Grasmere was about to be hit by the worst flooding in living memory. I can say that because my 98year old father-in-law says so. Mind you so has every reporter on the TV so it must be true!
High winds and continual rain for several days as Storm Desmond (we have just started naming storms in this country) hit the country. Cumbria was particularly badly hit. Roads quickly became impassable and villages became islands with no way in and no way out.
The river Rothay rose and rose. We watched anxiously.
And then it burst it’s banks.
In a situation like this you can use as many sandbags as you like but the force of the water is unstoppable. It comes up through the floorboards as well as through the door. You can feel the trembling beneath your feet.
Roads became rivers and several residents had to be evacuated from houses that were flooding. Thanks to Josie at Bridge House who had been watching elderly residents all day and then offered a bed for the night and warm meal, despite her hotel flooding too.
The next morning provided an opportunity to see just why the flooding had been so bad. About twenty years ago after another flood the river was re-routed at the top of Dunmail Raise to prevent it happening again. Had this been the cause, had it taken the old route, (apart from the excessive amount of rain too). One look at the fell side and it was obvious that the rain had caused two large landslides which had contributed to the flooding and debris.
The strength of the water had lifted tarmac and exposed pipes (amazed after I righted it the plant pot survived).
Dirty water had flooded in the front door and out of the back of most businesses.
Everywhere people were sweeping the floodwater out of shops.
Even the church was closed (on a Sunday!) as it had been flooded for the first time ever. Not long after though a large team of helpers were cleaning up. I am sure normal service, or services! will be resumed soon.
Still a bit of water in the streets but the water had receded quickly.
This reindeer made his appearance for the “Grasmere Welcomes Christmas” celebrations a few weeks previously when we had terrible weather too. Any one think he should be renamed RAINdeer ?.
You can see the two scars on the fell side that have appeared. Quite a few shops on this stretch were flooded. The Coop was shut, and when I made it through to Ambleside later I met lots of Grasmere people with the same idea as myself buying bread and milk as the main road from Keswick has disintegrated and the road from Windermere is flooded.
Several shops had started cleaning up already but there were also quite a few where people couldn’t reach Grasmere to assess their properties till all the roads open. Hope things aren’t too bad for them.
All along fences was debris showing how the river had pushed across the fields.
Although this looks like a weir, it is actually a drystone wall that the river has decided to take a route over.
The main thing is that yes! there are cafes and shops open. We need your support. Please help us get back to normal by visiting once the roads are running normally again. Let’s spare a thought for the poor residents elsewhere, Keswick, Cockermouth, Appleby and Kendal to name but a few who have been very badly affected.
There is an Appeal launched to raise funds to support individuals and communities affected. You can donate via text message. Send a text to 70070 with the message FLUD15 and a monetary amount. For example FLUD15 £10
I will leave you with this photo which summed up today for me.
Grasmere December 2015.
The weather in Grasmere this Autumn has been stunning. This week the weather changed and many parts of the village are flooded. Snow is forecast for next week. It would be easy to forget the beautiful days we have had in September and October so here are a few images.
Reflections on the mere have been amazing. Even when the early morning mist hangs in the air.
The Island in the middle of the mere a symphony of Autumn shades.
The entrance to the village a riot of colours too.
And Grasmere Daffodil Garden looking lovely at any time of year.
The weather however took a turn for the worst this week. It started with excitement as the first snow on the higher fells was spotted.
It then deteriorated as the rain arrived, and it rained and rained. Several weather warnings were in place and it looked like the river might burst it’s banks. The floods however came from the ground being totally saturated and newly formed rivers flooded in to the village.
The Sports field end of the village was affected and the Daffodil Hotel was flooded.
The centre of the village near the garden centre was awash.
Getting in and out of the village was a trial for anyone that had to.
The river is still high and the rain continues, lets hope things settle down soon. Thanks to Mountain Rescue, Environment Agency, Police and Fire Brigade among others who I saw helping to keep everyone on top of things.
Doesn’t time fly past. Another year another Rushbearing Ceremony in Grasmere.
I have written about the history of Grasmere Rushbearing many times in this blog, but it never fails to be one of my favourite days in the village.
After a weather forecast that wasn’t looking good at all, the procession took place with dry weather. I was actually at work but dashed down the hill to view the procession and take some photos. I always have a dilemma about where to stand but my good friend Taffy the Grasmere Storyteller took the decision out of my hands when he offered a cup of tea in the Storytellers Garden to enjoy while watching.
A great Lake District tradition begins.
And here comes the band.
Villagers young and old(er) took part.
Even our local thespian Doctor takes part. Still can’t forget his performance as Toad of Toad Hall in Grasmere Players production a few years ago.
As always the highlight of the parade are the Rushbearing Maidens.
Through the village they process until they reach Moss Parrock in the centre of the village for the Rushbearing hymn. Back through the village again to the Church.
Alex who was holding the cross at the start of the parade had been baking scones all day at National Trust Allan Bank and literally ran down the hill to take part. He looks amazingly relaxed! By now these bearings feel heavier and heavier!.
The Rev’d Cameron Butland leads the way back to church for the Rushbearing service. A little bird tells me this may be his last Grasmere Rushbearing Parade.
So another Rushbearing Parade escaped the rain! See you in 2016.
A good friend who I met through the wonders of Twitter @Loftylion9 was watching the parade with me. She took the beautiful shot below and gave me permission to use it.
Below is a link to the history of Rushbearing that I previously wrote on this blog.
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!