Beatrix Potter’s Lake District

Image from 'The Tale of Two Bad Mice', The ham falls - Copyright Frederick Warne & Co, 2004

Image from The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The ham falls
© Copyright Frederick Warne & Co, 2004

In 1905 Beatrix Potter began to spend more time in the Lake District at her new home of Hill Top Farm in the village of near Sawrey. Already established as a successful children’s author, she continued to write and illustrate new books for many years.

In 1913 she married a local solicitor, William Heelis. She became Mrs Heelis and few people knew of her identity as Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit. As time passed, she devoted more and more time to her farming, promoting traditional methods to preserve the environment and natural world around her.

Beatrix kept Herdwick sheep on her land, at the request of friend Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley who founded the Herdwick Sheepbreeders Association. Herdwicks are a hardy breed of sheep, able to survive on the fells of the Lakes. Beatrix’s clothes were often made from Herdwick wool because it is very warm, despite being rather rough and scratchy.

Canon Rawnsley co-founded the National trust in 1895, to act as a guardian for the nation in the protection of threatened countryside and buildings. Beatrix worked alongside the trust to manage and acquire land in the Lake District. On her death in 1943, she bequeathed 4000 acres. She made it a condition of her quest that Herdwick sheep should always be kept on her properties.

External links

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Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association|
National Trust|
Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley biography|
Hill Top Farm|