Tag Archive | Helm Crag

Nearly there….

View towards Helm Crag

As lockdown Three starts easing and holiday homes, non essential shops, outdoor seating for cafes and pubs and best of all hairdressers! are able to open again from 12th April the village will start to come alive again.

Grasmere Daffodil Garden

The daffodils are out in the daffodil garden and the only thing still missing is the smell of gingerbread wafting in the air but hopefully that will happen soon too.

St Oswald’s churchyard

We hope that visitors to the village will observe the country code. During the time between lockdowns last time there was a huge amount of rubbish abandoned in the village and on surrounding fells.

Riverside walk Grasmere

Let’s hope the sun shines and everyone can enjoy a great UK staycation.

Daffodils in the churchyard

Where better to visit after being stuck at home for so long than Grasmere Village. See you soon!

Spring at Allan Bank Grasmere

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.

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Beatrix Potter and Daffodils

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!

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Allan Bank Grasmere

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.

Allan Bank Art Room

Allan Bank Art Room

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.

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Refreshing the flowers at Allan Bank

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.

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Roaring fire in Wordsworth’s Study

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.

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Beatrix Potter Quote Cushion

Scattered around the house were cushions with quotes. I particularly liked the ones in the play room.

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Peter Rabbit Cushions

The play room was just waiting for little Easter visitors with books and toys to enjoy.

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Playroom Allan Bank Grasmere

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.

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Mountaineering Library Allan Bank

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.

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View from Craft Room Allan Bank

Just time for a quick look in the little shop, but the grounds were calling. Sunshine in the Lake District can’t be wasted.

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Allan Bank Shop

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.

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View of the Mere from Allan Bank

Next further up the path with a glimpse of Helm Crag in sight.

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Allan Bank Woodland Walk

And finally Helm Crag in all it’s glory.

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Helm Crag Grasmere

Something that hasn’t changed this year, or for a long time before is the old Victorian viewing tunnel in the grounds.

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Tunnel in grounds Allan Bank Grasmere

Time for a last cup of tea and tempted to cake by Sophie to round off my visit.

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Tea and cake at Allan Bank

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.

https://grasmerevillage.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/alan-bank-grasmere-unseen-for-200-years/

https://grasmerevillage.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/allan-bank-grasmere-a-new-beginning/

 

 

The Daffodil Hotel Grasmere.

It’s not often we get a brand new hotel in Grasmere, far less one right on the shores of Grasmere. I had written before about the trials and tribulations of the old Prince of Wales/Waterside Hotel in a previous post “Prince of Wales Hotel, Then and Now”. Lots of people had commented on the blog. They were people who had memories of the history of the old Hotel, people who had worked there, people who had stayed there, and lots of people commenting on their worries of what the Hotel would become.

The Dafodil Hotel Grasmere

Well, a new chapter begins here. The Hotel opened on the 26th July 2012 under a new name. The Daffodil Hotel.

Terrace Daffodil Hotel Grasmere

At first glance it is obvious that a lot of work needs to be done on the grounds surrounding the hotel, after all it has been a building site for quite some while. However it’s not difficult to visualise what it will become.

Room. Daffodil Hotel Grasmere

While the outside might still need a bit of work, the interior is more than finished. Talk about a room with a view!

Room with a view Grasmere

It must be one of the most stunning settings for a hotel you could imagine. And what about a room with a balcony overlooking the lake. Yes you can have that too.

Balcony Daffodil Hotel Grasmere

There is talk of having lots of natural flowers in the gardens, bluebells, daffodils, just imagine how nice that will look.

Hallway Daffodil Hotel Grasmere

Anyway, let’s wander down the hall and see what else we can find. I say wander, but it’s easy to become distracted by the wonderfully quirky limited edition prints hanging there. Worth a look in themselves. Being female I couldn’t help being impressed by the Molton Brown goodies in the bedrooms, and guess what, there is even a Molton Brown room you can stay in, just take a look at this shower.

Molton Brown Room Shower

You don’t need to worry that the character of the hotel has been lost though. There were still plenty of sympathetically restored areas of the original hotel.

Through the window

Lots of variety in the rooms, some were suites, some had amazingly large baths and bathrooms, it would be hard to pick a favourite.

Room Daffodil Hotel Grasmere

Lovely little touches like echoing the pattern of the beautiful carpets, on the wardrobes. But I still had to see the bit I was most excited about. The Spa. And what a spa.

Spa pool Grasmere Daffodil Hotel

To quote a famous retailer ” This is not just a spa, this is a Daffodil Hotel spa”. Not a swimming pool, but lots of different experiences in each area. Talk about relaxing. And as if that wasn’t enough, what about the very large steam room.

Steam room Daffodil Hotel

Now to have a look at the dining room and bar area. Well this table will do me just fine.

A table with a view

By now I was just about ready to book in, what a shame I live so near. Free Wifi everywhere too. I also had a quick peek in the two reception rooms, and to all the folk who thought the past had been forgotten, one was called the Waterside room, and one The Prince of Wales. Guess which this is.

Prince of Wales carpet

By now the sun was trying to come out, and as I was going outside I had a little laugh to myself that one kind guest had obviously decided not to dirty the carpet!

Mind the carpets!

There are views from every direction in the grounds. How about this view of Helm Crag.

Helm Crag Grasmere

So there you have it. A new chapter in an old hotel. All that’s left to say is “Cheers” and all the best to the new owners on their exciting venture.

Cheers!

Daffodil Hotel Grasmere. Now Open

Allan Bank Grasmere. Unseen for 200 years.

Across Grasmere Lake to Allan Bank

Driving from Ambleside to Grasmere and coming round Penny Rock, the first thing you see is a building standing proud at the head of the Easdale Valley. How many people must have thought “Who lives in a house like that?”. Well really it should be “Who lived in a house like that?”.

Early morning Allan Bank

It’s a house with a story to tell, so here we go. At the time that Allan Bank was built, Wordsworth was living in Dove Cottage. Along comes a Liverpool Attorney named Mr Crump and decides to build a house slap bang in the way of Wordsworth’s uninterrupted view of the Easdale Valley. At this time Dove Cottage did not have the houses of Lake Terrace in front of it, they were built at a later date, and with the living room of Dove Cottage being upstairs it must have been an annoyance right enough!

Temple of Abomination

Wordsworth said “Woe to poor Grasmere for ever and ever!….. When you next enter the sweet paradise of Grasmere you will see staring you in the face…… A temple of abomination.

View from Allan Bank

A few years later, Dove Cottage had become too small for Wordsworth and his growing family and they ended up as tenants of Allan Bank. Summers were idyllic, and Wordsworth had quite a bit to do with the planning and planting of the grounds. Winters were not quite so idyllic, with chimneys that smoked back into the rooms, filling Dorothy with despair as everything was covered in soot. They lived at Allan Bank for several years, with Coleridge and De Quincy frequently staying or visiting and quite often about 15 people there at the weekends.

Exterior Allan Bank

Another famous tenant of Allan Bank was Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. One of the founders of National Trust. He moved there with his second wife Eleanor who outlived him and was a very active participant in village life. She died in 1959 and is well remembered by older villagers. The house had been left to the National Trust by Canon Rawnsley with the understanding that Eleanor be allowed to live on in it till her death.

There then followed several tenants, and that’s how it would have stayed, had it not gone on fire in 2011. The fire was caused by an electrical fire in the roof.

Charred remains Allan Bank

One of the largest fires Grasmere has ever seen, fire engines came from all around. The current tenants escaped unscathed but the building was a sorry sight. Wrapped in plastic sheeting for most of last year it was hard to imagine that any good could come from it.

Internal damage Allan Bank

Spring forward to April 2012 and National Trust have now opened the house to the public. Great excitement in the village about the news that we would finally see inside the building.

View from Allan Bank

Not like any other National Trust house I have ever been in, you are met with a sign saying “Don’t knock just come in”. Next surprise is, it is warm and homely despite being left with the bare bones showing.

Friendship Room Allan Bank

Each room has a theme, Friendship, Garden, Writing etc.

Heaton Cooper Room Allan Bank

There is even a Heaton Cooper room, with information about the famous Grasmere Artists. You can draw or paint your own masterpiece here.

Express yourself. Allan Bank

The idea is to see what people think should be done with the building. With this in mind areas of wall have been left for comments.

Comments at Allan Bank

It is very interesting to see what people are thinking and feeling about the house. Coffee and newspapers are provided and with the fire lit, it’s a perfect place to escape.

Fireplace Allan Bank

You can also wander around and find your favourite room. Twinings tea is also available. Why Twinings you ask? Well when Wordsworth lived at Allan Bank he wasn’t keen on the tea available in Grasmere, and used to send to Twinings in London for tea chests of tea to be delivered. Apparently he spent about £1,500 a year with them. He must have liked his tea! And I am pleased to say the tea available in Grasmere these days is much improved!.

View from Allan Bank

The views from Allan Bank are spectacular and everyone seems to enter the rooms and gravitate towards the window. I have been there several times and even when the weather isn’t so good, the views still amaze.

Snowy view Allan Bank

The grounds of Allan Bank are another reason to visit. The National Trust Rangers could be seen working hard for months, cutting back trees and making paths.

National Trust Rangers Allan Bank

The first thing you see when you go outside is a building that looks like a chapel. It was apparently a billiard room.

Window Detail Alan Bank

It must have been a very nice billiard room, with stained glass windows and lovely detail on the door.

Door Detail Allan Bank

Also in the grounds is a Victorian viewing tunnel.

Viewing Tunnel Allan Bank

The Rangers have also created a woodland walk. Fairly steep in places but with wonderful views of Helm Crag and Dunmail Raise.

View of Helm Crag from Allan Bank

So the next time you are in Grasmere why not wander up the road at the side of the Miller Howe Cafe and discover Allan Bank for yourself. What should be done with it in the future? It’s time to have your say.

Allan Bank a house with a view.

Alcock Tarn Walk, Grasmere.

Was in two minds to call this “A view with a seat” or “A seat with a view” for reasons that will become clear once we start on our walk.

Path to Alcock Tarn

This is what I call my early morning walk. In the Summer when the visitors are here, this is the perfect start to the day. Get up early and you won’t see a soul.

Brackenfell Grasmere

It is also the walk from Grasmere that gives a lot with not a lot of effort. The other obvious attraction is that every so often you will find a well placed seat. This makes it an ideal walk in my book. Time to stop and take in the view should never be over estimated. It’s not a race. Relax and enjoy.

Seat with a view

So to start this walk we head through Townend Grasmere, past Dove Cottage Wordsworth’s former home. Arriving at what is called the duck pond, but sometimes is no more than a puddle, continue up hill to the left. The path to the right will take you on to the coffin route to Rydal. Another popular local walk. You will arrive at the gate to National Trust land, Brackenfell.

Gate to Brackenfell

Continue on through wooded land and you will arrive at your next direction marker. Just in case there is any doubt, someone has written on it in pen.

Grasmere signpost

Round the corner is a lovely little pool. I have been told this is where the packhorses stopped to drink.

Pond, Alcock Tarn Walk

Carrying on up hill you really start beginning to see some fantastic views. Helm Crag can be seen across the valley.

Looking towards Helm Crag

Just when you are tiring after a bit of an uphill stretch. Guess what? Yes it’s another bench.

Heading up Helm Crag

Grasmere Village is set in a natural amphitheatre. From here we can see across to another of the most popular walks the Easdale Valley and Easdale Tarn.

Towards Easdale Valley

And looking to the left Grasmere Lake has now come into view too.

Towards Grasmere Lake

Not far now. But what’s this? Yes my favourite seat of all.

Perfect View

Cresting the top of the hill after going through a cutting in the wall, Alcock Tarn appears before you.

Alcock Tarn Grasmere

It was originally a natural tarn and called Butter Crags Tarn. In the late 19th century Mr Alcock who lived in the Hollins further down the hill enlarged and damned the tarn to create a trout lake. Hollins is now the regional office for National Trust.

Windermere from Alcock Tarn

This photograph shows Loughrigg Fell from Alcock Tarn with Windermere in the distance. You can also see Coniston Water from here too. You are about 1,000 feet above Grasmere at this point.

Small Tarn

Walking past Alcock Tarn you reach another little tarn with Butter Crag to your right. Just as you start to head downhill you get a fantastic view of Greenhead Gill with Stone Arthur to the left.

Greenhead Gill

The path downhill becomes quite clear now, and it’s an easy walk down off the fell.

Route from Alcock Tarn

As you get a bit lower you will be able to see part of the pipe route carrying water to Manchester on your right.

Last Bench

Well that’s us at the last “seat with a view” of the walk. Just a short stroll down the left side of the stream. Don’t worry you don’t need to negotiate the stepping stones there is a little bridge at the end.

Bridge over the Beck

Carry on across the bridge and down the lane which will bring you out at the main A591 and the Swan Hotel

Alcock Tarn Signpost

Now that’s another reason this is such a perfect walk. It literally takes you from one end of Grasmere to the other. At just over 3 miles, this is the walk I would suggest to anyone with limited time in the Lake District to get a lot of view for not too much effort, and don’t forget all these rest stops!.

An Icy Grasmere Morning

A cold and frosty morning in Grasmere after a mild, grey, wet, winter.

Frozen Grasmere Lake

The lake had started to freeze over for the first time his year.

Weir at Grasmere Lake

The end of the lake where the weir is, is always the last to get the sun in the morning, but even there I managed to find a little patch of colour.

Frozen Lichen

Because the lake wasn’t totally frozen, the reflections were unusual.

Towards Silver Howe Grasmere

Looking down the lake it was interesting to see how the work on The Prince of Wales Hotel or Waterside Hotel as it is now known, was coming on. It should be opening this year which will be a relief as it has been a bit of an eyesore at the entrance to the village for a few years.

Waterside Hotel Grasmere

It couldn’t have a more idyllic setting and should hopefully be a credit to Grasmere when finished.

Grasmere Lake

Another interesting thing which will be opening in Grasmere this year can be seen to the left of this photograph.

Towards Helm Crag

Allan Bank, a property owned by National Trust will be opening to the public for the first time at the end of March. Former home of William Wordsworth and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley one of the founders of National Trust. Wordsworth protested loudly when it was built he said “Woe to poor Grasmere for ever and ever! …. when you next enter the sweet paradise of Grasmere you will see staring you in the face ….. a temple of abomination”. At that time he was living in Dove Cottage. Lake Terrace was built in front of the cottage at a later date, so Allan Bank was built slap bang in the middle of his undisturbed view of the Easdale Valley. Unfortunately for Wordsworth he had to eat his words as when Dove Cottage grew too small for his family, they moved into Allan Bank a few years later.

Frozen Grasmere Lake

Allan Bank is an easy stroll from the village, so will be a great addition to visitors enjoyment of the village.

Snowdrops at Wordsworth's Grave

I walked past Wordsworth’s Grave later on and was pleased to see signs of Spring. A few snowdrops pushing through the icy ground. Just out of interest I had a look to see what Dorothy Wordsworth had written in her Grasmere Journal on this day February 10th in 1802. She wrote “A very snowy morning – it cleared up a little however for a while but we did not walk”.

Spring has sprung in Grasmere

At last the clocks have changed and the nights will be getting lighter. Summer is on it’s way and the signs are all around in Grasmere.

Grasmere Postbox and Daffodils

When I looked out at the Sports Field the other day I had seen crowds of people hanging over the wall looking at something. Curiosity got the better of me so I went to investigate what this new spectator sport could be.

Newly born lamb

Well Grasmere Sports might draw the crowds every year but the sight of lambs being born on the field was coming a close second!

Mother and lambs

Young and old were standing patiently watching the arrival of lambs right there in front of them, and I make no apologies for the number of lamb photos as they were just so cute.

Resting mother and lamb

The sun was shining too, which was a welcome sight after the long winter.

Grasmere Sports Field

The National Trust Regional Headquarters are based in Grasmere and I had to make a visit there, so decided to carry on and come back round by the path that runs from just opposite, across the field and back into Grasmere.

Helm Crag and Grasmere

Everything was waking from the long Winter, the birds sounded happy and splashes of colour were appearing.

Spring Flowers

When I came to the Millennium Bridge I decided to go round by Grasmere Daffodil Garden to see how the Daffs were progressing. Perfect timing!

Grasmere Daffodil Garden

The daffodils were in full bloom and I noticed some new slabs had been laid on the path, so I went to take a look as several people had asked me to let them know when theirs were laid.

Grasmere Daffodil Garden

I had also seen another sign of Spring on my walk, some more new arrivals will be coming soon.

Frog spawn

Hard to believe this will produce frogs swimming about, but strangely fascinating!

Just time to give William Wordsworth a nod on the way past, and nice to see he had his own Daffodils to enjoy.

Daffodils at Wordsworth's Grave Grasmere

Grasmere is perfect at any time of year but Spring has to be one of the best times to visit as the village awakes for the tourist season about to begin. Ok you know i’m going to do it! One last lamb photo.

Relaxing in Grasmere sunshine

Early Morning Grasmere Lake

One of the best things about living in the Lake District is that if you wake up early and it’s a nice day, you can fit in a walk before work.

Grasmere Lake

It is often repeated that there is only one lake in the Lake District, so saying I went for a walk round Grasmere Lake would be wrong. As the name suggests it is a Mere. When the poet Gray visited Grasmere as one of the earliest tourists in 1769 he described it as “One of the sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imitate…”

Early morning, Grasmere Lake.

The mist was rising off the water when I arrived and there was not a sound other than the birds and sheep. Even the traffic on the main road hadn’t started yet. Species of birds ever-present on Grasmere include Black Headed Gull, Coot, Mallard, Mute Swan and Canada Geese. Many attempts have been made over the year to cull the Geese around Grasmere and Rydal Water, because they compete with sheep for grazing, but they continue to flourish.

Helm Crag from Grasmere Lake.

Several spellings of Grasmere can be found through the years. Gressimer,Grysmyre,Gressmere but the probable origin is Grisemere meaning “Lake of swine” . One of the early uses of the forest was the herding and pannage of pigs. Hard to believe such a stunning setting could be named after pigs!.

The weir, Grasmere Lake.

I had approached the weir from “Penny Rock” a sharp corner on the road which opens out into a view the length of the lake, on the road from Ambleside to Grasmere. The turnpike road through Grasmere was made about 1770 although the road by Penny rock was not made until 1831. Having to blast through the rocks at this point was so expensive that it added a penny on to the rates, hence the name Penny rock.

Bluebells on the Fellside.

The hillside at the moment is tinged blue with all the bluebells, a wonderful sight.

Reflections on the Lake.

The reflections on the lake were beautiful this morning, I just missed a heron flying past in this shot, will have to be quicker off the mark in future.

Grasmere Lake.

Some facts about Grasmere Lake. The lake is 1540 metres long, 640 metres wide and at it’s deepest 21 metres.

Towards Deerbolts woods.

The view above is looking in the direction of Deerbolts Wood and Silver Howe. Roe deer as the name suggests frequent the area. When they see you they head off up the fellside in leaps and bounds revealing their pale rump patches.

Time was marching on, so work was calling, but what a lovely start to the day. Priceless.

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