Troutbeck

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Troutbeck

Geographically the Troutbeck valley lies mid-way between the towns of Windermere and Ambleside, cradled by the slopes of Wansfell and Applethwaite Common, following the Trout Beck (river) all the way down to the shores of Lake Windermere.

Most of this area is grazing farmland and woods along the valley bottom, populated by a few scattered farms, cottages, larger houses, and the village of Troutbeck itself.

Almost every building in the Troutbeck valley is over 100 years old, and many are over 300 years old. The whole Troutbeck valley lies within the Lake District National Park. Most of the village is a Conservation Area and there are many Listed and National Trust owned buildings.

Materials used to build farmhouses varied from slate to painted or rendered stone. Many of the chimneys are conical in shape. The 17th century coaching inn, the Mortal Man Inn, at High Green is well known for its sign on which is the verse:

Thou mortal man that lives by bread
How comes thy nose to be so red?
Thou silly ass that looks so pale,
It is by drinking Sally Birkett’s ale.

The surrounding landscape is exquisite. The peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag rise steeply to over 2500 feet to dominate the head of the valley, and the Trout Beck runs through woods and farmland to plunge through steep ravines just before entering Lake Windermere at the foot of the valley.

Although highly popular with tourists, Troutbeck has no official car parks, and just one village shop and tearoom; many visitors arrive on foot via its network of footpaths and bridleways. Visitor attractions in the Troutbeck valley include seven hotels, one Youth Hostel, a National Trust Property at Townend, and a large caravan and holiday chalet park at Limefitt which dominates the riverbank opposite Jesus Church.

 

The church, Jesus Chapel, on the road to Kirkstone Pass, was constructed in 1736 on the same site as a 15th century chapel, rebuilt in the 16th century. Like many other churches it was renovated by the Victorians, who retained the tower and added an Arts and Crafts window combining the skills of William Morris and the painters Sir Edward Burne-Jones and F. M. Brown.

The roof is oak beamed, and the stalls and communion rail are composed of Jacobean woodwork. The altar table dates back to the late 1600’s. In the spring Lakeland’s famous daffodils bloom in profusion in the churchyard. The churchyard is also notable for its yew trees and three lych gates.

Troutbeck Town End Farm by Humphrey BoltonFarms in the area raise Herdwick sheep. Troutbeck Park Farm was purchased by Beatrix Potter in 1928 for that purpose. Another well known Troutbeck resident was Thomas Hoggart, a Cumbrian poet who lived in the 17th century. A third famous inhabitant was Hugh Hird, a strongman known for his prowess with the bow during Scottish border raids.

In 1843 the writer John Wilson wrote about Troutbeck. He commented that the scattered dwellings were “all dropt down where the Painter and the Poet would have wished to plant them, on knolls and in dells, and on banks and braes, and below tree-crested rocks, and all bound together in picturesque confusion . . .”

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