The Lake District’s rural economy

The Lake District is characterised by communities ranging from market towns to isolated cottages, with picturesque villages and hamlets of varying sizes in-between.

Dale Head Ulpha Fell, Duddon Valley lake district

Living n the middle of nowhere: ‘Dale Head, Ulpha Fell, Duddon Valley’. (Caption and image courtesy of Dave Wiliis at http://www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk.)

One of the iconic figures of the Lake District is the Herdwick sheep. The main Herdwick, Swaledale, and Rough-Fell breeds shape the fell character of the Lake District National Park, with the grey and white Herdwick being the most ubiquitous on the fells. On 24th August this year, Joseph Hardman’s 1953 photograph, entitled ‘Kendal Rush Hour’, was replicated at Allhallows Lane. Sixty years ago, herding sheep down Kendal’s high street was a regular occurrence. Now, however, they are transported in trucks – not quite so newsworthy nor picturesque!

(http://www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk/kendal-wool-gathering-2014)

Kendal’s link to the wool trade and agriculture can be see in this photo, ‘Kendal rush hour’, probably taken in 1953 by photographer Joseph Hardman. (http://www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk/kendal-wool-gathering-2014)

'Crowd gathers to see sheep flock through Kendal town centre as iconic photo is reproduced.' )http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/11429898.Crowd_gathers_to_see_sheep_flock_through_Kendal_town_centre_as_iconic_photo_is_reproduced/?ref=ms)

‘Crowd gathers to see sheep flock through Kendal town centre as iconic photo is reproduced.’ (http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/11429898.)

However, from time immemorial, other animals have also contributed to the economy of the Lakes – and they continue to do so. Cattle are bred for meat and milk, and we often find young cattle on the fell into which our guesthouse nestles during early summer and early autumn.

'Painting by Sidney Richard Percy (1821 – 1886). This one is entitled Grizedale, Westmorland. It was painted in 1883. Photo courtesy of http://iberianature.com/britainnature/grizedale-westmorland/#more-621.

‘Painting by Sidney Richard Percy (1821 – 1886). This one is entitled Grizedale, Westmorland. It was painted in 1883.’ Photo and words courtesy of http://iberianature.com/britainnature/grizedale-westmorland/#more-621.

blenheim lodge, brantfell, lake district

This photo of cows at rest was snapped from The Dalesway room, a pretty room with French antiques, including a romantic Louis XV bed, overlooking the fields and woodlands at the back of our guesthouse, Blenheim Lodge.

Horses were indispensable in the old days to for transport and much hard work on the farm. In the first photo, you can just about make out the horse’s outline under its enormous load of hay! For a great day out, visitors interested in 19th century farming techniques may experience farming the old fashioned way at Old Hall Farm in Bouth.

'Making hay while the sun shines' at Brockhole, Lake District. Photo courtesy of http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/learning/archaeologyhistory/archaeologydiscoveryzone/archaeologyindepth/brockhole_history.

‘Making hay while the sun shines’ at Brockhole, Lake District. Photo courtesy of http:www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/learning/archaeologyhistory.

Present day farm work with shire horses. Photo courtesy of http://oldhallfarmbouth.com/day-courses/working-with-shire-horses/

Present day farm work with shire horses. Photo courtesy of http://oldhallfarmbouth.com/day-courses/working-with-shire-horses

Dogs were, of course, essential creatures at least on sheep farming stations. They were and continue to be guardians as well as companions to farmers and non-farming communities alike. Visitors to the Lake District can try their hand at sheep-herding at the Lake District Sheepdog Experience.

'A Lakeland shepherd carries a lamb on horseback over a Lake District mountain.' Published by G P Abraham Ltd, Keswick courtesy of http://postcards-of-the-past.co.uk/cumbria.htm.

‘A Lakeland shepherd carries a lamb on horseback over a Lake District mountain.’ Published by G P Abraham Ltd, Keswick courtesy of http://postcards-of-the-past.co.uk/cumbria.htm.

A Border Collie herds sheep at the Lake District Sheepdog Experience attraction. (http://www.lakedistrictsheepdogexperience.co.uk)

A Border Collie herds sheep at the Lake District Sheepdog Experience attraction. (http://www.lakedistrictsheepdogexperience.co.uk)

Times move, but mankind’s relationship with and reliance on the animal kingdom continues within the the rural traditions of the Lake District. Of course there are many other businesses in the Lake District which enable its economy to grow. One such is tourism. And with it the adaptation of rural business to the tourism industry. Many other opportunities involving members of the animal kingdom can now be enjoyed by visitors to the Lake District, from an aquarium to zoos, petting farms and working farms, falconry, llama trekking, horse-riding, hound trailing, etc., and, of course, numerous agricultural shows.

Goat at Westmorland County Show, Septermber 2005

At the Westmorland Agricultural Show: ‘Smile, and the world smiles with you!’ (Photo by Ben Barden.) 

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com

Email: enquiries@blenheim-lodge.com

Telephone: 015394 43440

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Activity Breaks, autumn break special offer, B&B guests, bed and breakfast late availability, Blenheim Lodge, bowness-on-windermere, cumbria, English Lake District, english lake district, grizedale forest, kendal, lake district breaks, lake district holiday, lake district scenery, photography, retreats, Romantic Breaks, single rooms for B&B, Special Offers, travel, windermere weekend breaks, woodland views and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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