Rushbearing in the Lake District

Rushbearing in the Lake District.

Rushbearing is an ancient Lake District custom. The custom dates back to the times when the floors of churches were simply made of mud and earth. Every year, when the rushes were at their greenest, they were picked and taken to the church to cover the floor with new, sweet smelling grasses.

For families taking part in the Ambleside event, this means going out to the lake shores and picking lovely fresh green rushes. The rushes are then decorated and threaded though with flowers. This is the only time in their lives that our sons were happy to walk around carrying flowers!

In Grasmere too, everyone in the procession carries flowers and rushes. Even babies’ prams are decorated for the occasion.

Where and when do these events  take place?

Ambleside- first Saturday in July.

Where and when can you see a Ceremony in 2017? Well, Ambleside Rushbearing takes place on Saturday, 1 July 2017. Traditionally Ambleside’s big day is the first Saturday in July . For more information you can read Ambleside Online’s website  .    

black and white Rushbearing

Rushbearing Ambleside some years ago

The traditional  processesion in Ambleside assembles outside the school, and wends its way around the village, stopping at the Market Cross to sing the Rushbearing Hymn. Our children attended Ambleside Junior School, and the annual Rushbearing  day was an important event in the calendar every year. All children carry rushes (reeds) decorated with flowers. There are also large set piece “bearings”, the frames which are stored every year and redecorated freshly each July. They are quite heavy, and need strong arms. There is a harp, a cross, and a crown among the large traditional pieces.

After the Rushbearing procession, sports were held in the park, and all the children got a big piece of sticky gingerbread.. possibly their favourite part of the whole event.

harp rushbearing

The Harp, Ambleside Rushbearing

The band plays, the children and their families parade through the village- lovely! How wonderful that the old customs are still in full swing today.

Grasmere, 2nd Saturday in July (usually-)

Grasmere Rushbearing 2017 takes place this year on Saturday 8 July. You can read an excellent description of the 2016 event on Chris Shaw’s  Grasmere Village Blog here. 

2016 was wet! On her Grasmere Village Blog, Chris also has photos and news from a very sunny 2015 – click here to see it.

The customs of the Grasmere Rushbearing vary from those of Ambleside. In Grasmere the Rushbearing Maidens dress in their green dresses and carry the cloth. The large bearings are similar but not quite the same as those in Grasmere. The bearings are decorated in a different style.

Winding the rushes round frames takes place in St Oswald’s church Grasmere on the two days before the event. Helpers are always welcome.

The old hymns are sung and gingerbread is shared out. There is usually tea in St Oswald’s Church grounds, run by the WI.This year, due to the fact that a large chunk of the church yard is closed due to the Tower repairs, the after parade get together will take place in St Oswald’s, with musical accompaniment.

old grasmere rushbearing

Rushbearing in Grasmere many years ago

Here’s an old photo of Grasmere Rushbearing. The maidens today still wear the same outfits, but the clothing of the onlookers and other participants is much changed.

maidens grasmere

Grasmere Rushbearing Maidens 2015

modern rushbearing

Grasmere Rushbearing 2015

You can easily see either event if you are staying at Brockstone Grasmere Cottage.

Fingers crossed that the weather will stay dry this year.

For information about other villages with a similar events, click through here.

A beautiful November walk round Rydal Water.

November in the Lakes has been beautiful this year. We’ve enjoyed lots of walks around Rydal Water and Grasmere in perfect weather.

When guests visiting from the USA asked in advance what weather to expect, we told them that it would be unpredictable, but that rain would probably feature. However, as yet they’ve been here for 5 nights, and there has not been one drop of rain.

It’s been dry, cold and sunny this November in the Lakes.

The other day I set out from our front door and walked around Rydal Water. This walk can be done from the door of Brockstone Grasmere cottage too. Here are some of the photos I took. I was using my phone, no settings, just simple snaps, and even with such basic technology I hope you’ll agree that the walk round Rydal Water is pretty spectacular.

A still Rydal Water reflects the sky

A still Rydal Water reflects the sky

William Wordsworth often walked around Rydal Water. He lived his later life at Rydal Mount, a lovely house which you pass on this walk and which is open to visitors.

In one of his poems he wrote about Rydal Water-

“Like a fair sister of the sky

Unruffled doth the blue lake lie

The mountains looking on”

I think that he must have written these lines on a day like this, when the lake is still, and the sky is reflected in the lake- making the lake a “sister of the sky”. You can clearly see “the mountains looking on” as they are highlighted by snow in my photos.


Looking towards the Fairfield Ridge, more reflections in Rydal Water

It’s hard to tell in the photo above where the land ends and the lake begins, as the reflections are so realistic.


On the frosty side of Rydal Water

In winter, the west side of Rydal doesn’t get any sun. Loughrigg Fell stops the low sun making it over the edge to the west shore. However, the opposite side of the lake is bathed in sun. The contrast can clearly be seen between those areas which stay frosty all day, and those that get the sun.


This sheep was not impressed-” move along please, I don’t want my photo taken” Rydal Water in the background

Half way round the walk you come to Rydal Hall, where the formal gardens still look good even in November. The Old School tearoom behind Rydal Hall serves delicious home made cakes, soup, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks- all at very reasonable prices.

Rydal Hall Gardens on a beautiful crisp November Day- a short walk from Brockstone cottage

Rydal Hall Gardens on a beautiful crisp November Day- a short walk from Brockstone cottage

For more information about Rydal Hall you can visit their website by clicking here.

Rydal Hall on a frosty November morning

Rydal Hall on a frosty November morning

Winter in the Lake District can be wonderful.A winter walk in the sunshine is good for your mind and body. Wrap up warmly and get outdoors. Brockstone Grasmere Cottage is a wonderful base for your winter break.

Goodbye October 2016

It’s 1st November, All Saints Day, and we’ve said “Goodbye October 2016- you were a wonderful month” The sky was blue, the sun shone, we had very little rain and the autumn colours were amazing. (for our reader in the USA that would be “FallColors” )

We thought that we might have some unlet weeks in our Grasmere cottage, but in the end all the weeks in Brockstone  were booked, and we’re fully booked through most of November too. Our guests had amazing weather and loved their stays. You can check out  our new reviews here. 

Here are a few photos from the last day of October 2016.

October colours Grasmere

October colours Grasmere

This is a photo taken through the beech wood known as “Penny Rock Woods” down to the shore of Grasmere. Can you see the reflections in the lake? Wonderful!


A carpet of leaves in Penny Rock Wood, Grasmere

A carpet of beech leaves.


Grasmere weir, October colours in the Lakes

This is one of my favourite short walks. I probably do this three times a week. Every day is different- the weather, the light, the season, all combine to make each day unique.

All these wonderful sights can be seen on a short walk from Brockstone Cottage- beautiful at any time of the year.

Take a winter break in our Lakes Cottage

Take a winter break in our Lakes Cottage, Brockstone, and enjoy great views, fresh air, fabulous walks, starry nights,and cosy accommodation in the heart of the Lake District.

Our cottage is full booked until the end of October, but from then until early March you can enjoy a 3 night weekend break for £290, or a full week’s stay for £490 ( excluding Christmas and New Year)

Step out of the front door and walk! No need to drive and park, there are lovely walks right on the doorstep. A click through this link should take you an article I’ve written about short circular walks from White Moss. Brockstone Cottage is in the White Moss area of Grasmere. Walk to Grasmere for a beer or a meal, and call in at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth museum.  Amble to Ambleside for a spot of shopping. Ramble to Rydal to see Wordsworth’s house Rydal Mount  and enjoy lunch at Rydal Hall tearooms.

At the end of the day you can return to a cosy, warm cottage and light the log burning stove for an extra glow. Take a bath in the spa bath with soothing jets to massage tired limbs. If the skies are clear, go outside and look at the stars. If you live in a city or town you’ll be amazed at the wonders of the night sky in the countryside.

Treat yourself to a winter break. Immerse yourself in the countryside. It’s good for you!

The A591 is open again! Grasmere is once again connected to Keswick

As many of you will know, Storm Desmond washed away the A591, the main road through the Lakes , which connects the north to the south, Keswick to Grasmere. The A591 road runs down the steep Dunmail Raise, where streams raged and carved their way through the road. The road was impassable.

Today,Grasmere is once again connected to Keswick If you use Twitter check out #A591backtogether .( You can follow me on Twitter- I’m @whitemosshouse.)

Yes, today, Wednesday 11 May, is a red letter day, as the A591 road has finally been repaired and reopened. Our journey to Keswick is now a beautiful half hour scenic drive. For the past 5 months the only way north was via Kirkstone pass or round by Kendal, all of which added a good hour to the journey.

Ever since the floods, Martin Campbell has been posting on the Grasmere Village Facebook page, telling the story in words and photos. Take a look to see the whole story, and to enjoy the latest photos.Here’s a photo of Grasmere school children at the official opening. Grasmere school children wrote to the Prime Minister, telling him of the terrible problems caused by the loss of the road. David Cameron visited Grasmere school and praised their efforts.

Prince Charles also visited Grasmere and other areas of the Lakes to highlight the problems and express support.

This is the photo taken today, as the children of Grasmere school helped to officially open the A591 Grasmere to Keswick road.

Grasmere and Keswick connected again

Grasmere and Keswick connected again

Our beautiful area has been badly hit by the floods, and we need visitors to come and support our local economy. The Lake District is beautiful at any time of the year. Come along and see us. You’ll be very welcome.

Eat cakes and raise money for good causes in the Lakes This week.

We love cakes. Morning coffee with cakes, afternoon tea with cakes, cakes in a picnic for a day out on the fells, cakes with friends, gingerbread, lemon drizzle cake, flapjack, Lakeland teabread………

lakeland tea bread on plate

White Moss Lakeland tea bread. Delicious cake.

This week visitors to Ambleside and Grasmere can enjoy cakes and raise money for two very good causes.

On Wednesday 6 April, Ambleside Choral Society is raising money for its funds with a Coffee Morning at Lucy’s on a Plate, Church Street, Ambleside. Lucy’s have very generously offered to host this event. Lucy’s coffee and a cake £2.50, plus cake stall, bric a brac and other tempting things to spend your money on and help raise money to keep the very popular Ambleside Choral Society financially viable. 10.30-12.30, Wednesday 6 April, Lucy’s , Church Street, Ambleside. Eat cakes and raise money for a good cause. That probably makes the cakes very low calorie, so no need to feel guilty.

On Thursday 7 April , 2pm  “An Afternoon Affair” in aid Marie Curie Cancer Care. St Oswald’s Church Grasmere is the setting for the launch of a new CD of specially composed music reflecting the Lake District’s wonderful scenery, wildlife and history. 2pm-3pm, entry £3, all proceeds going to the Marie Curie Cancer Care. The music has been composed by Vaughan Kennedy, who will be introducing his work and playing the music in the beautiful setting of St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere.

Grasmere Church. St Oswald's

Grasmere Church. St Oswald’s

This is followed by tea and cake across the road in Grasmere Rectory. Tea and a cake £2.50 ( or more if you’re feeling generous) Cakes are being provided by Grasmere WI. All proceeds from this are also going to the Marie Curie Cancer Care. . Grasmere Rectory from 3pm, Thursday 7 April. This is another very good reason to eat cakes. Eat cakes and raise money for good causes. Guilt free cakes in the beautiful Lake District.


Looking forward to a great 2015 at Brockstone Cottage Grasmere

Here we are in the first week of 2015, and already we have lots of bookings for our Grasmere holiday cottage. We call it a “Grasmere holiday cottage”, as it is actually located in the Parish of Grasmere, but the lake that you can see from Brockstone Grasmere Cottage is, in fact, Rydal Water. The view of Brockstone in the page header is taken looking across Rydal Water.The cottage is ideally located at the centre of the most popular walking area in the Lake District, yet it is peaceful and away from the crowded village centre.

Grasmere lake is a 10 minute walk away, and a circular walk from Brockstone to Grasmere Village and back round the newly remade Grasmere lake shore path can take anything between 1 hour ( if you’re a fast walker or jogger) to 3 or 4 hours. Actually, your wanderings ( lonely as a cloud- to use the well worn Wordsworth phrase) could take even longer if you stop off in Grasmere Village to see the sights,do some shopping, have a coffee , snack or meal. If you call into a pub for a pint ( Tweedies is our favourite) who knows how long you might stay?

I’ve written an article on “10 Things to do in Grasmere” which you can find by clicking through this link.

2014 was a very busy year in Brockstone, and we’re happy to say that Brockstone Grasmere cottage received many excellent reviews. You can find more about our reviews here. We’re now taking bookings for 2015. We’re looking forward to a great 2015, and hope to see you.


We’ve taken a booking for September 2015!

How far ahead do you plan your holidays? Are you a last minute sort of person, or do you like to fill your diary a year ahead? I tend to do both, but I must admit to booking my favourite self catering accommodation way ahead of time. In fact, I ask the owner to pencil us in for the following year as I leave.

Some of our guests at Brockstone cottage Grasmere, do exactly the same. If you want to stay somewhere as unique as Brockstone, you do need to plan ahead.

We already have bookings as far ahead as September 2015. If you are flexible about dates, there’s not a problem, but if you want to fix your dates around a birthday or an anniversary , or school holidays, don’t leave it too long.

If you want to come in August 2015, we are offering a special rate for a two week slot from 8 August to 22 August (or you could make that 9 to 23 August) The rate for an August week is £890, but if you stay for these two weeks, we are offering a special rate of £1,650 for a family of 4, for two weeks. penny-rock-woods-grasmere-white-moss-walkHere’s a reminder of one of the lovely walks that you can do from Brockstone cottage. This is Grasmere from Loughrigg Terrace. More details of this walk can be found here.

Winter breaks at our Grasmere Cottage

We’ve just let the week in October that we still had available in Brockstone Cottage. Our Grasmere cottage is now fully booked until November

Winter Breaks

From 1 November until March 2015, we are offering short breaks, for a minimum of 3 nights at rates from £270. Full weeks are just £490. The exception to these rates is the period over Christmas and New Year, when we offer a minimum stay of 4 nights at the rate of £560, with a week being £790.

We can be flexible about changeover days, so please ask if you have some dates in mind, and we will do our best to fit in.

Here’s one of our latest 5 Star reviews “We loved this cottage – in the heart of the lakes and yet tranquil and isolated,” Click through this link to read more.

Grasmere cottage special offer.

 If you can get away for the week beginning Saturday 20 September, we have had a cancellation, so we’ve reduced the rate from £750 to £650. If you are interested in this special offer, contact us asap, or please pass the word on.

There are always special events happening in the Lakes, whatever time of year. If you’re here for Sunday 21 September you can go to the traditional Borrowdale Shepherds’ Meet.

From 13 September to 28 September, there’s also the amazing C_Art festival, lots of indoor and outdoor exhibitions and happenings that will interest a wide range of visitors.

We’ve had some great reviews lately for our Grasmere cottage.The family who left on Saturday loved it, and their young son said it was “my best holiday ever”, and the previous guests call Brockstone “the most wonderful cottage in the Lakes”. Here’s the link to our reviews on the HomeAway website . There are more on the Trip Advisor, though some of our guests don’t like to post reviews there as Trip Advisor seems to need to know everything about you before they’ll let you review our cottage! The website Holiday Lettings is part of Trip Advisor.

Here’s a photo to remind you of the wonderful views around our Lakes Cottage- just a short walk away.

On the shore of Rydal Water

On the shore of Rydal Water

As we seem to be getting an early autumn this year, the leaves may have started turning by late September. It’s a glorious time to visit. I love waking up to a crisp September morning, lacing on my boots and setting off for a day’s hike. Lucky guests who stay at our Grasmere Cottage, Brockstone, can look forward to returning to a hot bubbly spa bath and a cosy log fire.