It seems a shame to write about events only after they’ve taken place, so this time I thought I’d let you know about an upcoming date for the diary in advance.
If you’re wondering how to spend the last Bank Holiday Monday in May, I have one favourite suggestion that I’d like to share with you. The Troutbeck Garden Trail is a one-day event put on by members of the Troutbeck Village Association once every two years. Around 12 private gardens are expected to take part in 2015, and as someone who has been on the trail twice before (though unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the last one in 2013), I can highly recommend it.
Troutbeck is known for its peaceful atmosphere and fabulous views. Take a walk along the valley at any time of year and you’ll find it unusual not to be greeted warmly by other walkers passing in the opposite direction. The views across Troutbeck are so dramatic in places that they are quite difficult to capture in a photograph, and the characterful traditional stone houses and barns complete this idyllic picture. Despite the area’s close proximity to Windermere and Ambleside, it honestly feels like you’ve entered another world.
The gardens taking part in the open day are spread out along the length of the valley, previously covering a distance of about two miles end to end. If this all sounds too exhausting, there are a small number of parking areas along the walking route, enabling you to complete some of the gardens in groups. Factoring in a stroll around each of the gardens, it is a long day on your feet, but well worth it!
The gardens themselves vary enormously in style, size and content. There are a number of things that have stayed in my memory from visits in previous years. One outstanding garden was really steep. I remember climbing up and up stone steps through terraces of garden, along which quirky but tasteful ornaments, benches and potted plants had been carefully positioned.
This was also a special moment, because the early part of the day had been wet, but suddenly the sun burst from the sky to reward the hard work that had clearly been put into opening – everything was just so neat and tidy! The gardener here had made a feature of the local stone throughout, as do many of the owners. In another of the gardens, the lawn was interrupted by the most wonderful tree ferns, something that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to find in a traditional Lakeland garden.
Garden trails are the perfect opportunity to get some inspiration for your own patch, and this one is especially good. The 2015 event is being held on Monday 25th May between 11.30am and 5.00pm, with afternoon teas served at the Troutbeck Institute (they go to a lot of effort!). For more information, visit the events page on the Troutbeck Village Association website and see the Garden Trail page for further photographs from previous trails.