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.
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.