Spring is on its way. It is, really, despite the Met Office’s recent announcement that we’ve just had the coldest winter for 31 years.
The snowdrops have finally decided it’s safe to flower, roadside and lakeside daffodils are now a few inches high and the first lambs are taking tottering steps in the fields. The cold winter isn’t all bad news, either; delayed spring flowers finally erupt all at once, giving a fabulous display of celandines, wood anemone, daffs, wood sorrel, dog’s mercury and primroses.
The National Trust owns much of the public land in the Lake District. One of its biggest donors was Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She was a regular visitor to the Lakes as a child, often staying at Wray Castle, where the local vicar was a certain Canon Rawnsley, who set up the National Trust in 1895.
Beatrix had a life-long love of the Lakes. As soon as she had earned her own money from her first few books, she rushed to buy Hill Top at Near Sawrey, near Hawkshead. She left this to the National Trust in her will, with the stipulation that the furnishings, library and garden remained untouched. She also bequeathed 4,000 acres of prime farmland, stocked with her favourite Herdwick sheep.
Peter Rabbit is still to be spotted all over the Lakes, visiting his own-branded shops across the National Park, dropping in to Hill Top, doing gardening demonstrations and holding tea parties at the World of Beatrix Potter.
Given Beatrix’s deep involvement in the area, perhaps it’s not surprising that Sally’s Cottages’ portfolio has some fabulous Potter links. Some of the film, ‘Miss Potter’, was shot in the Loweswater area and at our property, Low Millgillhead (above).
Penny Hill Farm Cottage (above), in Eskdale, was once owned by Beatrix herself, and it certainly looks like one of Beatrix’s watercolours, with its white-washed walls and small cottage windows. If you’re a Lakes lover, there’s every chance that you’ve walked alongside her fields, around her tarn and parked on the land she owned and loved. Feed your enthusiasm with a few Potter-esque trips…
Visit Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Hawkshead or go for a walk around Tarn Hows
Take the kids to The World of Peter Rabbit Attraction or find out about Peter Rabbit’s gardening sessions and children’s teas.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead is situated in her husband’s legal offices, and displays many original watercolours from Beatrix’s books.