Monday, April 18, 2016

Historic Places: England's Lake District

Many regions of England appear to come straight from one's imagination or a storybook. No place is this more true than in the Lake District. Low mountains that clouds have settled to rest upon create hiding places for crystal clear lakes, bubbling streams, and winsome thatched roof houses.

Exploring this area, one also sees many of the sheep that have been part of the Lake District economy since the middle ages. Stone fences leave meandering lines across the hillsides in a casual attempt to keep the community herds separated. When they do mingle, splashes of different dye colors across the animals' backsides identify each sheep's owner.

Lake Windermere is a defining feature of the Lake District. A long, narrow lake that has naturally occurred within a glacial gash, Windermere is a National Park and England's largest lake. The town of Windermere is just one of several that dot the countryside, suddenly appearing as you overtake an incline or peek around a hill.

One person who made a great effort to preserve the idyllic nature of the Lake District was author Beatrix Potter. Her 17th century house is kept much as it was when she was alive, and we were blessed enough to enjoy fresh scones and tea there. Those dried up things that we Americans call scones have no resemblance to their tasty English cousins! During her lifetime, Potter spent much of her earnings to purchase Lake District properties and save the region from commercial development. Her efforts have reached into modern day, with subsidies in place to enable sheep farmers to carry on as they have for hundreds of years.

If the very home of a storybook writer is not a fantastic setting enough, you can make your way to Grasmere. In this little village full of quaint stone buildings, it is easy to believe that you have stepped into another place and time. This tiny community has a lot to offer, including St. Oswald's Church where one can visit the grave of William Wordsworth.
By this time, you will already have no wonders about how he was so inspired to write within these surroundings. The church stands on a site that has been home to a Christian congregation since the medieval King Oswald's reign in the 7th century. Portions of the current church date back to the 14th century with numerous additions and improvements made in the intervening years.

Not far from Grasmere, Ambleside is another picturesque village made up of ancient cottages. One with a past as interesting as its architecture is the Bridge House. This unique building was originally constructed above water rather than land as an early form of tax evasion. The minuscule two room house has been home to an apple store, a family with six children, and a recruitment center during its varied history.

For an area that is famous for its pleasing rural beauty, the Lake District has many interesting stops and historic places to offer to adventurous explorers.

11 comments:

  1. Lovely post - I was up at Windermere on Friday! Living in the area I have the luxury of choosing times to go out and about when the crowds can be avoided. And remember that if you wish to see the Lake, it's better to go down to Bowness, from where the boat trips depart. I moved up here in Feb 86, and I remember that on one of my first visits to Bowness the lake was frozen over. It was a breath-taking sight!

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    1. Thanks, Annie! Nothing like tips from the locals. What a glorious place to live!

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  2. Never been there, though passed by often, Wonderful blog and photos. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Jane! Now you will leave time for stopping next time. ;-)

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  3. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy walking and photography. Lovely round-up.

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    1. Absolutely! Even my amateur skill and camera took some pleasing photos. Thanks for visiting my blog, Alison!

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  4. The Lake District is high on my list of places to visit. Thanks for this great post :-)

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    1. It is a wonderful place for a writing retreat!

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  5. Very nice. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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