Many people don't know that Beatrix Potter farmed just down the road at Troutbeck Farm which sits just in front of Troutbeck Tongue about twenty minute's walk from Windermere Lodge.
She bought the farm in 1923 and famously bred Herdwick sheep there. This large sheep farm of 1900 acres was spectacularly sited on the lower slopes of Kirkstone Pass. It was under threat of development and Beatrix Potter was keen to keep the farm together as working unit, so she bought it. Three years after she bought it, she decided to run the farm herself, with the aid of a shepherd, Tom Storey.
They built up a celebrated flock of Herdwick sheep, a breed of small hardy sheep with course dark wool which is indigenous to the Lake District. Even in the 1920's they were a breed under threat as more and more farmers bred other breads of sheep with softer fleeces and more productive lambs. She encouraged the revival of Herdwick sheep in all her farms, and her sheep won most of the major prizes at local shows. Beatrix Potter used the farm as a setting for the Fairy Caravan stories, and several other pieces. Some of her writing was done in a little study she had at the farm. In the 1930's Beatrix was made President of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders' Association.
(Sources: cumbria-calling.com and visitcumbria.com) Another Lakeland garden that attracted Potter was Holehird, about 1.5 miles from Windermere Lodge, where she and her family spent two summers (1885 and 1889). Holehird House, a Grade II listed building, now serves as a nursing home. The ten acres of gardens sit on a hillside at the southern end of the Troutbeck valley, allowing spectacular views across the lake to the fells beyond. A walled kitchen garden, rock garden, orchard, heathers and shrubs make for a peaceful stroll. The garden has a national collection of astilbes, hydrangeas and polystichum ferns.
(Source: The Cumbria Directory)
The recent film starring Rene Zellweger has made the local Beatrix Potter attractions even more popular than usual!
To find out more about the life of Beatrix Potter please follow this link
This link has lots of information about how to follow in her footsteps
Places that you might want to visit include:
- Hill Top, just across the Windermere ferry from Bowness.
- The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness itself.
These and all of the sites of interest are easily accessible by car or bicycle from Windermere LodgeReturn to the top of this page