We'd arrived in Near Sawrey late in the morning, toured Beatrix Potter's Hill Top after having lunch at our inn, Tower Bank Arms, and now were eager to head out on our first "ramble." But first we must get fortified with Cream Tea at Sawrey House Hotel just down the lane. . . .
Built in the 1830s Sawrey House was once a grand country home. . . .
The signs to the restaurant led us onto the terrace overlooking Esthwaite Water. . . .
You can see the lake mid-distance with the mountains behind it. . . .
This view overlooks the Hill Top farm pasture in the distance. This is the view I would have from our table in the dining room . . . .
I was eager to try my first Cream Tea in England because I'd heard so much about it. I was not disappointed! . . .
It is called Cream Tea because of the clotted cream that you either pile on top of the jam or on top of the scone first and then the jam on top of the clotted cream, depending on your side of the debate. Clotted cream is hard to find and not inexpensive in America so here is a Clotted Cream Recipe by Nancy Birtwhistle if you'd like to try it for yourself.
We exited through the hotel passing this beautiful stained glass window in the entry hall. . . .
I'm so glad we took the time for tea and scones before our walk because it turned out to be a bit longer than anticipated. I'd found this little 2007 book years before and had used it in my story "Gabriel's Tale" for the directions Gabriel needed to pass through Near Sawery on the footpaths. . . .
We would be taking Walk 2 that afternoon. . . .
|Click on photo to enlarge|
To start our walk over the hills we headed down the hotel's driveway and turned left onto Lakeside lane. . . .
Off to our right over the rock wall I could see Bluebells. The cottage through the trees was one of several further down the lane that leads to Ees Wyke (one of the houses Beatrix Potter stayed in with her parents during their yearly sojourns to the Lake District) (see map above). . . .
We'd hardly walked any distance when this came into view. . . .
It was the southern end of Esthwaite Water, a place Beatrix loved and could see from Hill Top. . . .
Turning around I looked back up at Sawrey House. . . .
Ken called out, "Look! A Pheasant," so I turned back to the pasture. . . .
A few steps further down the lane with Sawrey House still in view, we could see the cows in the pasture of Hill Top farm. . . .
Everywhere we turned we saw something new to excite us--like this magnificent ancient tree. . . .
Look how it's grown around that boulder. . . .
Bucolic scenes everywhere! . . .
Every few steps brought another breakth-taking view. . . .
We'd come to the junction mentioned in 2⃝. Beatrix featured this junction in her story "The Tale of Pigling Bland." Her sign, though, read "Over the Hills." If you click on the title, you will find out more about the writing of this tale. . . .
We headed down the lane to the right as we walked toward Esthwaite Water. . . .
Up ahead was the bridge over Cunsey Beck. . . .
Beatrix helped save Ees Bridge in 1907 by donating the stone from her land for the repair work. . . .
Looking north I could see the reeds--the home of the frog in "The Tale of Jeremy Fisher". If you click on the title you will find out more about the writing of this tale. . . .
To the south were cows grazing along the creek. . . .
Further up was a farm house. . . .
I realized this was the new Beatrix Potter Nature Walk that led up to the Trout Hatchery where you could rent boats for fishing. We would have to wait for another day, though, to take this path. . . .
Crossing back over the bridge we headed back up the lane to the junction. . . .
I stopped at the farm gate by the crossroads to take in the view once again. . . .
Peaceful is the best word I can come up with. . . .
The directions said we'd soon be passing Dub How Farm, so we were on the lookout for it as we strolled along the narrow lane. . . .
Spying lovely little scenes such as this--a faerie house entrance with Bluebells at its entrance. . . .
And swaths of Bluebells in the woods. . . .
I absolutely love curved paths because you never know what will greet you around the bend. . . .
Looking down the hillside we could see the bridge over Cunsey Beck where we'd just been. . . .
Here's Dub How Farm! . . .
This pretty little flower was in the moss between the rocks in the stone wall along the lane. . . .
On top of the wall in places were hedges of Pyracantha. . . .
And through the hedge you could see the lambs. . . .
The directions said "approximately 500m beyond the farm, turn left at a 'public footpath' signpost." Since I had no idea how long 500m was I kept looking for a signpost, and kept looking, and kept looking until we came to another road--which we should not have reached. Fortunately, there was a house there and the fellow was outside so we asked where the footpath was. We had passed it a ways back, and in fact, Ken had suggested that it was where it ended up being. But no, I needed a signpost before I'd head off into the woods on possibly private property with who knows what out there! Once we found it (and verified there was no longer a signpost in sight!) we enjoyed the path through the Silver Birches. . . .
So far so good. Here's the kissing gate as noted in step 4⃝. . . .
This path led us through Castle Wood where I saw another faerie door. . . .
More swaths of Bluebells, which are hard to see in the bright sunlight. . . .
Soon we were in Castle Wood. . . .
After awhile we weren't sure we were still on the footpath to Near Sawrey. The path was no longer clear and then we saw a sign that said this. . . .
What?! Was this just the owner's way of expressing his displeasure of having to grant a public right-of-way on his land? We walked another few yards and saw another sign that said the same thing and looked at each other. Hmmm.... "Do they mean like as in snakes?" Maybe we should take this seriously. I was so rattled I didn't take a photo of the sign. Instead we carefully stepped through the grass that had been trodden leading back up to the hill we'd just come down. It looked like others had missed the marked path as well. We realized the hill was the "short, sharp ascent" that the book said would lead to a gate and continued "along a path between fences to join the pubic footpath which connects Near and Far Sawrey villages." Soon we could see Far Sawrey in the distance. . . .
This is more like it--sheep. . . .
Soon we'd reached the footpath that connected Near and Far Sawrey. . . .
The bench was much appreciated as we sat for awhile enjoying Wilfin Beck. . . .
We passed a house along the way across the lane. . . .
The footpath ended just before we reached the lane that led up to the farm section of Hill Top. We exited out into the road and could see Castle Cottage across the way. . . .
We'd freshen up in our room at Tower Bank Arms then have supper in our special window. . . .
It was all delicious and well-earned. Ken's fit bit, by the end of the day, said we'd walked 8.6 miles, took 18,248 steps, and climbed 50 flights of stairs. . . .
As we walked along the lane in front of Castle Cottage I thought about Susan Branch's Bring-Your-Own-Picnic that would be held there the next day (click on link to read my post about it). . . .
From Castle Cottage I zoomed in on Tower Bank Arms across the meadow. . . .
Back in our room I wasn't ready to let the day go as I sat by our open window (the upper window to the left of the entrance in the above photo). Lights were coming on in the village. . . .
The rest of the evening I wrote in my journal and plotted out the two walks we'd take on the morrow--one before the picnic and the other afterwards. We had no trouble falling asleep quickly that night.
Up Next: . . .And Far Away