I saw a wonderful photo of some Lakeland sheep, which has inspired today’s post. Keith Twentyman of Cumbria’s National Farmers Union says, ‘A lot of people, particularly visitors, think the Lake District is natural. It isn’t. It is a managed environment and the management is done by these [fell] sheep. . . . I don’t think anyone knows for sure how many are up there, but it would be hundreds of thousands, belonging to hundreds of farms throughout the whole county.’ (www.visitcumbria.com/herdwick-sheep.htm)

herdwick sheep, coniston, lake district
A flock of Herdwick sheep walk down Lake Road towards John Ruskin School, Coniston. (Photo courtesy of www.lakelandcam.co.uk)

I love looking at sheep when they are not penned up. They seem to take their own sweet time, whether they are crossing the road, cropping grass, or lying down. They never seem to hurry. And even when they do want to get somewhere, they seem to do it without a care in the world. What a wonderful philosophy in this frenetic day and age, where most everyone and everything must needs rush.

 sheep, lake district
A Herdwick sheep sedately enjoying its walk along Lakeland paths and fells. (Photo courtesy of www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk.)

Lakeland’s fell sheep may be found in the lowlands or high fells. At Blenheim Lodge, we sometimes find sheep grazing in the fields behind our house. Blenheim Lodge is situated in the heart of the English Lake District, and the land that the sheep ‘cultivate’ is National Trust land. Here is a photo taken from The Dalesway room at Blenheim Lodge. The Dalesway is on the first floor of our guest house, which is literally a few yards from where these sheep are feeding.

sheep at blenheim lodge
Fell land behind our Bowness-on-Windermere bed and breakfast where sheep and cows share grazing ground.

I think the sheep in the photo above look rather pampered compared to some I have seen in the high fells. It must be tough living out on the cold windy mountains especially when the wet weather comes in. Of course sheep are hardy creatures, but I still feel for them when strong gales combine with buckets of rain or generous lashings of snow to make for a miserable day out of doors.

sheep at kirkstone pass
Sheep eke a living at Kirkstone Pass, the Lake District’s highest pass open to motor traffic.

But without Lakeland’s sheep, we would not have those picture postcard views such as the one I have uploaded below. The Lake District is essentially rural in character, with some places, like Blenheim Lodge, being situated in a bustling village, yet is located in a semi-rural location: for while the town centre of Bowness-on-Windermere is a mere 5-minute walk from our B&B, the back of our guest house borders upon open fields and woodlands where sheep, cows, and sometimes wild deer may graze, owls hoot, bats swoop, pheasants strut, squirrels steal, and robins and tits feed.

Herdwick and Swaledale sheep at High Yewdale. (Photo courtesy of Tony Richards for www.visitcumbria.com.)
A picture postcard view of Herdwick and Swaledale sheep at High Yewdale. (Photo courtesy of Tony Richards for www.visitcumbria.com.)

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com

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Phone: 00 44 (0)15394 43440