Friday, 9 October 2009

Acorn Banks

Wonderful day out yesterday. Headed out to Gretna on the west coast, visited the Outlet Centre (I stocked up on nothing more exciting than M&S knickers and socks!) then south down the M6 to Penrith. Acorn Banks at Temple Sowerby was our destination and it did not disappoint.

We had brilliant weather all the way and I realised all over again why I love autumn. The clarity, and colours, the crispness.

Acorn Banks is famous for its herb garden which is certainly one of, if not the best, herb garden in the country. Names of herbs I read about in historical novels are growing there in profusion. Mandrake, hemlock, a section marked Women's Herbs...

The house is not open, but I'm sure the National Trust magazine will not mind if I quote a snippet from their Autumn 09 pages: Acorn Bank in Cumbria, a fine old red sandstone manor with "glorious views, acres of wild daffodils in the spring, ancient oakwoods, orchards and a watermill. But the old house was nearly impossible to live in. The heating came from an oil-fired boiler much the same size as the one that drove the Queen Elizabeth liner. When this monster was cracked up, the great house smelt like a garage and half of Cumbria was covered in oily particles. When the price of oil rocketed in the 1970s, it became so expensive to heat that we lived in one room to keep warm." John Vidal writes of forty years ago and the NT, who work towards clean and renewable energy in all their properties, have plans afoot to change all that.

The watermill, a half a mile from the house through the aforementioned oakwoods with acorns crunching underfoot, is now restored, and will produce hydroelectricity as well as grinding corn. I have in mind Future visits, particularly in the spring to catch all those daffodils. Today we saw a couple of red squirrels darting about doing acrobatics through the tree tops, and discovered that there are holiday apartments to let. More pics will follow in the next few days.


Linda Banche said...

Looks like a gorgeous place. Lucky you.

Jen Black said...

They had cockerels running about at the mill - you'd have loved it.