16. Beatrix Potter Country - Lake District Photoguide Plus

Beatrix Potter Country

Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) is the author of a number of highly successful children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tailor of Gloucester. In 1905 she came to live in the Lake District and bought Hill Top farm in the hamlet of Near Sawrey at the south end of Esthwaite Water. For readers of her books, there will be a familiarity to Near Sawrey as she used many of the views around the hamlet as inspiration for her illustrations. Hill Top itself also features in many of her books, both its interior and exterior; it is now owned by the National Trust, and open to the public. And for anyone wanting to see her original paintings, the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead holds annual exhibitions of her work. Don't miss the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere.

After Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top she continued to live in the Lake District, until her death in 1943. During this time she became increasingly involved in its life, landscape and farming, developing a particular interest in the local breed of sheep, the Herdwick. With the proceeds of her best-selling books she was able to buy a substantial number of farms in the south of the Lake District, helping to preserve the Herdwicks. She and her farm managers became increasingly respected as sheep-breeders, and just before her death she was elected as president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association. With their friendly, teddy-bear faces, the Herdwick sheep have become one of the most-loved features of the Lakeland landscape.

Besides preserving the Herdwick sheep, Beatrix Potter’s purchase of farms also helped to preserve large areas of the landscape and many traditional Lakeland farmhouses. One particularly beautiful example is Yew Tree Farm, 2 miles north of Coniston.

As part of her purchase of the Monk Coniston Estate, Beatrix Potter also came into the possession of one of Lakeland’s most famous little lakes, Tarn Hows, which is located between Hawkshead and Coniston.