After spending Friday morning waiting in for a delivery we both had cabin fever, so in the afternoon we jumped into the car for a brief foray to the Grizedale Forest. This area of woodland between Windermere and Coniston was originally the site of a large country house, which was requisitioned during the war and turned into a prisoner of war camp for German officers. It was from here that the only successful prison escape by a German was made – as told in the book and film ‘The One That Got Away’. At some point after the war the main house was demolished and the land is now owned by Forestry England (formerly the Forestry Commission). It’s home to a network of trails and footpaths and an ever-changing collection of artwork dotted amongst the trees.
We didn’t have time to do the longer walks and recent heavy rain meant everywhere was spectacularly muddy. So we stuck (part literally) to the shorter, more accessible routes. It’s a bit of a cop-out, but still lovely for a wander with lots to look at including rushing streams, lush forest floor, stunning glimpses of the view across the valley, and those strange pieces of sculpture. Last time we visited, about four years ago, they included a vast collection of wooden stakes carved with intricate Celtic designs. This time those had vanished, but there were some weird sheepy snails (or snaily sheep) and a whole cluster of “clockwork trees”. And it was lovely to see the famous woodsman refurbished and back to his best.
We stayed on long enough for tea and cake at the café in the main courtyard, then had another brief foray up the Millwood trail before being beaten back by steep slopes coated in thick slippery mud. Ah well, it’ll all still be there for the next time we visit – and it’ll be fun seeing what nature of artwork they have waiting for us then!