Head to Cumbria this October half term and autumn and have fun tracking down amazing historical items and possessions linked to the Duke of Wellington in the 200th anniversary year of his birth, or celebrate his legacy by pulling on the wellies named after him.
Cumbria’s Living Heritage is enticing families to explore the Wellington Line – part of its imaginary ‘Heritage Cumberground’ and a line that highlights the best places to ‘do’ both Wellington and wellies.
At Mirehouse, near Keswick, you can track down a statue given to all who attended Wellington’s funeral and, as such, a piece linked to one of British history’s heroes. There is also a letter on display, full of irony and sarcasm, in which the Duke responds to what would seem to have been the pen-pushers of their day in Whitehall, explaining that he’s done as best he can with the audit they asked him to conduct, for budget purposes, but is rather tied up with a war against France, which they may or may not realise! Read it for the raspberry jam comment alone! Whilst at Mirehouse, be sure to find out all about the house’s association with the Lake Poets and Alfred Lord Tennyson and maybe enjoy the lakeshore walk, following in his footsteps.
Pulling on wellies at Whinlatter forest this autumn, could turn you into a ‘Wild Woman’, exploring foraging, firelighting and outdoor traditional living skills, as you move around England’s only true mountain forest, possibly being watched by red squirrels, as part of a special girl-only event on November 8. There will be Family Wild Play Days on October 17 and 18, a Spook-O event on October 24 that takes you orienteering by dark, Autumn wreath making on October 29 (and Christmas wreath making on November 25) and also free Walking for Health events on October 30, November 27 and December 18. Children can also enjoy a new family trail themed around Shaun the Sheep. The Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail is themed around an alien spaceship which has crashed into Grizedale Forest. Shaun the Sheep is on a mission to help the inhabitant – a lovable alien called Lu-La – and he and Lu-La need children’s help to charge Lu-La’s communicator using a new app, a UV pen and a series of puzzles, found along a forest trail!
At Grizedale forest wellies can explore 4000 hectares of forest and woodland, discovering outdoor sculptures by leading names in contemporary art, incredible views of the Lakeland Fells, some, or all, of 10 walking trails, plus the same Shaun the Sheep-themed Farmageddon Glow Trail family trail as Whinlatter, but one laid out over different terrain. Wellies will also assist at ‘Stargazing with Robert Ince’ events, as you traverse the Milky Way aided by powerful telescopes and binoculars. These events book quickly, so buy tickets as soon as you can. Dates available are October 25, November 15, 16 and 27 and December 6, 7 and 18.
Acorn Bank was once the base of the Knights Templar and boasts 275 varieties of medicinal and culinary herbs. As importantly, it is home to 175 varieties of apples, which come into their own in October. Acorn Bank has Apple Tasting weekends on the weekends of October October 19 and 2O and October 26 and 27. An Orchard Tour will be offered on October 20 and there is Community Juicing on Saturday November 9, when people can bring their own washed apples and bottles and have the North Cumbria Orchard Group turn them into juice, using their special press. The orchard theme continues into December, with a winter pruning workshop on December 7 and a chance to chat to orchard experts on December 14.
There is also a Halloween trail running from October 19 to November 3, on which you can have fun spotting the pumpkins. If you love cookery demonstrations, don’t miss chef James’s cooking demos on October 18 and November 29.
And, when it comes to April, you can make a beeline to Levens Hall and Gardens, near Kendal, to view items that once belonged to Wellington and Napoleon. Over winter, you can visit the Levens Hall Kitchen, before or after pulling on the wellies and strolling on marked footpaths in the deer park, where you might spot some black fallow deer and rare Bagot goats.
Explore the Wellington Line this autumn and discover all manner of fabulous indoor and outdoor talking points. Head to www.cumbriaslivingheritage.co.uk for details of all other heritage attractions within the group and to download the Heritage Cumberground map.