It snowed in Cumbria on Saturday night, but the laying snow had gone from the Eden Valley by Sunday morning. So we went to the National Trust’s property of Acorn Bank, admiring the snow on the Pennines as we made the journey.
Acorn Bank belonged to the Knights Templars from around 1228, then passed into the hands of the Knights of the Hospital of St John. At the Dissolution of the monasteries, the estate came into private hands, being acquired by Thomas Dalston in 1543. It remained with his descendants until the 1930s.
The house itself is mostly empty, though there are guided tours. Most visitors go there to walk through the gardens and the woodland, or to visit the working watermill. The present mill is early 19th century, though there was a mill on the site in 1323. In the woods nearby are Gypsum drift mines, worked in the past century.
Even in the time of the writer Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, who lived there before the war, Acorn Bank was renowned for its daffodils. And they were out in abundance for our visit. In the garden is a pond full of newts, fascinating little creatures that you can lose all track of time watching.
From the grounds, there are extensive views across to the mountains of the Lake District and the moors of the Pennines – still snow-capped on this bright and sunny morning.
Lovely old cars arrived with their drivers just before we left, seeming to take us back to an earlier time in the history of Acorn Bank.