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The village gem of the Lake District

A truly unique village, full of vernacular architecture in a perfect Lakeland valley setting

Almost all the buildings in Troutbeck are original stone-built farmhouses, cottages and barns, dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth century

Widely recognised as one of the most unspoilt villages in the Lake District, Troutbeck is really a collection of tiny hamlets strung out for about one and a half miles, following a line of ancient wells high above the Troutbeck valley floor.

Within the village itself there are two famous traditional inns, a well-used village institute, a beautiful Lakeland church, and an excellent new village tea room and shop.

Troutbeck has no public car parks, tourist shops or crowds, and most visitors arrive on foot via its network of footpaths and bridleways. Fellside Studios sits quietly about 100 yards below the main village centre, and there is little noise or traffic. At night, we see millions of stars above the darkness of the valley, and the only sound is the hooting of owls.

The peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag dominate the head of the Troutbeck valley

The surrounding landscape is exquisite. The peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag rise steeply to over 2,500 feet to dominate the head of the valley. Below these the Trout Beck (river) runs through woods and farmland and then plunges through steep ravines before finally entering Lake Windermere at the valley foot.

Man’s early imprint on the landscape is still easily visible. Unlike Britain’s cities, where history has often been concreted-over, the ancient pattern of drystone walls, bridleways and farm buildings is almost totally unchanged since stone settlement first began in the early sixteenth century.

Here are a few of our favourite places that help us imagine what life must have been like in this once-remote valley:

Exploring Troutbeck’s Vernacular Architecture

thwaite-farmhouse
The rooftops of Thwaite farmhouse

Traditional Cottages and Farms

Troutbeck Village consists almost entirely of original stone-built farmhouses, cottages and barns – almost all the buildings in the village date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. All except Townend are private, but you can wander for hours along the many footpaths and bridleways that connect the village to Jesus Church, admiring unique bank-barns, crow-stepped slate roofs, massive circular chimneys, oak mullioned windows and slate porches.

  • To explore Troutbeck on foot you can follow one of our suggested Beautiful walks direct from your doorstep
  • If you stay with us ask to see our copy of Susan Denyer's excellent book 'Traditional Buildings and Life in the Lake District'

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The National Trust's Townend is just a five minute walk from Fellside Studios

Townend Yeoman Farmer's House

Modest in size, Townend gives an atmospheric insight into the life of the Browne family who lived here for almost four centuries. Built in 1626, it's full of intricate original oak carved furniture and panelling, wide oak floor planks and built-in spice cupboards. National Trust volunteers are often on hand (sometimes in authentic costumes) to explain Townend's many fascinating stories.

  • Entrance charges £3.80 adults, £1.90 children
  • 17th century family cookery demonstrations in the kitchen every Thursday afternoon
  • Open 31st March to 28th October, daily except Mondays and Tuesdays, 1pm to 5pm or dusk if earlier
  • Tel: 015394 32628
  • Web: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Due to major repair work, Townend is unfortunately closed until July 23rd 2016
  • Check the Townend blog for updates, and fascinating details of all the work being undertaken

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Jesus Church is five minutes in the opposite direction

Jesus Church, Troutbeck

There's been a church on this site since 1506. It was re-built in 1736 using many of the original oak roof beams, and its famous and very beautiful east window was designed by Edward Burne Jones, Ford Maddox Brown and William Morris. The churchyard lies in a perfect valley setting, overlooked by ancient yew trees. Peaceful, light and colourful, the church is open for quiet viewing throughout the year. Unmissable, whether you're religious or not.

  • Just a five minute walk from Fellside Studios
  • Open 9.00 am until dusk, every day of the year

Memories of Troutbeck

Haymaking in Troutbeck around 1906

Troutbeck Village Association Website

Brian's other website at troutbeck.org includes many fascinating photos and memories of life in our village over the last few centuries:

  • The archive page includes historic books to download, and stories about haymaking, the village school, and a transcription of Dorothy Bowness' memories of 95 years living in Troutbeck, written in 2002
  • The photo archives include pictures of Townend Barn, and the history of the Birkett-Forrests at Low House Farm in the 1930's
  • Especially interesting (and poignant) is this sound interview with Muriel and Jackie Bland, who lived their whole lives in Troutbeck, recorded just after they celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary in 2010

Few landscapes in Britain have changed so little since mediaeval times.

Susan Denyer
The National Trust

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Find out more about our village, past and present, at troutbeck.org

Troutbeck itself is glorious — every nook, cranny and view. Townend, un-messed for 400 years, is a must.

Peter & Judy
Guests from London, May 2012

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The upper levels of Townend Barn, opposite the National Trust property

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Townend Barn in the 1930's from the troutbeck.org photo archives

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A typical crow-stepped roof on a cottage in Troutbeck village

we're highly recommended

Monica & Brian Liddell
Fellside House, Troutbeck, near Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NN, England
Tel: 015394 34000
Email: brian[at]fellsidestudios.co.uk

we're highly recommended