A Walk around Seathwaite Farm.
One of our favourite walks in the Borrowdale Valley in England’s Lake District starts at Seathwaite Farm.
Whilst parts of the Lake District have become very busy with tourists, the Borrowdale Valley is less developed. Whilst coffee shops are hard to find, there are some beautifully situated hotels and inns offering food and drink for the day visitor and comfortable accommodation for those who wish to stay.
There isn’t a car park with a ticket machine at the start of this walk; there is some off-road parking just before the farm though for those walkers who get there early enough. (update 2019: drive past all cars parked by side of road right up to the farm. On the right is a “CAR PARK” sign. You can park in the field all day for a small charge. The farmer has left an honesty box for payment.)
The area has been in the news recently as the 600 year-old tradition of sheep farming is very much under threat. This is explained in an excellent Guardian article entitled “The National Trust, the sheep farm and a fight for a Lakes way of life”.
And also in an article in the The Telegraph which quotes extensively from author Melvyn Bragg’s letter to The Times: “Lord Bragg attacks ‘mafia style’ National Trust over Lake District land purchase”
I didn’t know about any of this when we visited the area several times last year. Knowing now how threatened the traditional way of life is makes these photographs very poignant for me.
The Herdwick is a breed of domestic sheep native to the Lake District of Cumbria where winters are harsh.
The wool quality of a Herdwick has unique qualities relating to durability. Thick bristle type fibres will often protrude from garments forming a protective barrier layer in blizzards—most likely the same qualities that protect the sheep in similar conditions. They have been known to survive under a blanket of snow for three days while eating their own wool. Wikipedia
For an interesting read about how Beatrix Potter was instrumental in saving the breed, go to www.peterrabbit.com.