by John Moss
unless otherwise credited
Lake District of Northern England
lies between Lakes Windermere and Coniston, in the Vale of Esthwaite
and to the north of the Grisedale Forest, about 2 miles from Beatrix
Potter's Hill Top Farm at Sawrey, and 3 miles from the Windermere
ferry, possibly the best and most picturesque way to approach it.
It is probably one of the prettiest villages in the whole of the
Lake District National Park, which is reason enough to pay a visit,
but it also has the added benefit that several key historical lakeland
figures lived there for a time. It was where the poet William Wordsworth
went to school, and where Beatrix Potter had a house.
of Hawkshead and Lake Windermere. courtesy of www.webbaviation.co.uk
Copyright © 2005.
is Norse in origin, having derived its name from Haukr, an immigrant
Viking who built the first stockaded settlement there. It is a picturesque
village of neat whitewashed cottages with grey local slate roofs,
huddled together with cobblestoned alleyways and overhanging arches
which give the whole place a sense of intimacy and quaintness, as
they lead from one idyllic scene to another.
In summertime, residents living around its squares seem to compete
for attention with their splendidly colourful flower tubs and window
There is much for the visitor to see in Hawkshead. The Parish Church
of St Michael and All Angels overlooks the town protectively from
its hilltop vantage, and marks the point which Haukr originally
placed his settlement due to its superb defensive position. Originally
the hill would have been surrounded by a ditch or moat. It is an
austere grey and plain building, in character with typical Lake
District church style and dates from the 15th century.
Left to Right: Hilltop Farm, Sawrey; Anne Tyson's Cottage; The Main
Square: St Michael's
of it was built by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, who also founded
the Grammar School nearby - now most notable for having been attended
by Wordsworth, who, in typical schoolboy fashion, carved his initials
into the wooden desk - they can still be seen today, as the Grammar
School is now open to the public. In a hidden corner of the village
is Anne Tyson's Cottage. It was here that Wordsworth boarded during
his time at the Grammar School, in 1778 and 1779. Anne Tyson's account
books are part of the exhibition in the school museum.
is Beatrix Potter Gallery, the former office premises of her husband,
the solicitor William Heelis, which she bequeathed to the National
Trust, along with Hill Top in Sawrey and several thousand acres
of lakeland hillsides. The gallery museum now displays most of her
original water-colour illustrations for her many now famous children's
books. (See more - below).
her characters were based on people she knew in Hawkshead, and many
of her illustration settings were taken from local sites. The Market
House in the main square originated in 1650, and over the centuries,
sheep and cattle markets have been held on its ground floor, (known
as the "Shambles"), and it was the place where farm labourers congregated
to obtain work.
away in a corner square is the Methodist Chapel which has been operative
since 1862. In the nearby village of Colthouse is the Friends Meeting
House, a Quaker chapel built in 1688. There is no access or parking
to the village centre, but ample large parking facilities (paying)
are available at the village outskirts - no more than 100 yards
away. Numerous teashops, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants with
a wide choice of eating, drinking and dining facilities. Public
conveniences and Tourist Information Centres at Car Parks. Many
small souvenir shops in the village.
(1866-1943) was born in London, who lived most of her life in the
Lake District, and apart from being a prodigious hill farmer and
dedicated conservationist, is better known for her writings and
illustrations which have made her one of the world's best loved
of country life enabled her to invent a world where the many small
creatures which she observed and drew came to life in a fascinating
and charmingly rustic series of short stories. The characters which
her fertile imagination and sympathetic style created, (like Peter
Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Tommy Brock, Jeremy Fisher and Mrs Tiggy-winkle),
have become part of children's folklore - It is well worth the visitor's
time to visit one of the several exhibitions of her work.
Beatrix Potter Gallery
Street, Hawkshead, Cumbria LA22 0NS. Telephone: 015394-36355
An award-winning exhibition in the house where her husband worked
in the centre of Hawkshead village. A selection of her original drawings
and writings are on display, as well as the garden. National Trust
owned property. Open 1st April to 31st October, Monday to Friday &
Bank Holidays 10.30am-4.30pm. Last admission at 4.00pm.
World of Beatrix Potter Exhibition
Old Laundry Visitor Centre, Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria.
An award winning exhibition, open all year round. Carefully created
3-dimensional settings from her stories and well-loved characters,
with latest lighting and sound facilities as well as film and video
displays. The Old Laundry also hosts other visiting exhibitions and
welcomes children's group activities. There is also a Visitors Shop
and Tea Room specialising in Cumbrian cakes and light lunches.
Potter's Lake District
Keswick, Cumbria. Telephone: 017687-75173.
Specially created multimedia show which vividly brings Beatrix Potter's
world alive. It also illustrates her many works of nature conservancy
(over 6000 acres) on behalf of the nation. Open 1st April to end
of October, daily from 10.30am-5.30pm, and from November to March
on Saturday & Sunday from 12noon to 4.00pm.
Ambleside LA22 0LF. Telephone: 015394-36269.
A small 17th century farm house where Beatrix Potter spent most
of her later years, and where she wrote and set her many Peter Rabbit
books. The house contains much of the author's furniture, artefacts
and china, as well as a selection of her original water-colour and
pencil illustrations. There is also a well maintained garden which
has changed little since she planted it years ago. The house is
small and group or party numbers are restricted. Long queues are
likely at peak holiday times. Car parking at the north end of the
village - none in the village centre. Open 1st April to 31st October,
Saturday-Wednesday, 11.00am-5.00pm. Last admission 4.30pm. Closed
Thursdays and Fridays (except Good Friday). Unfortunately the house
and garden are unsuitable for wheelchairs or push-chairs. Braille
Guide available. Small NT shop on site. Refreshments nearby in the
village at the Tower Bank Arms pub.
check times and prices for yourself before setting out as they may
have changes since this entry was written.