A truly unique village, full of vernacular architecture in a perfect Lakeland valley setting
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
Brian's other website at troutbeck.org includes many fascinating photos and memories of life in our village over the last few centuries:
Few landscapes in Britain have changed so little since mediaeval times.
The National Trust
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
Monica & Brian Liddell
Fellside House, Troutbeck, near Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NN, England
Tel: 015394 34000