Thorneythwaite Farm is situated in a tranquil setting right in the heart of the mountains. There are walks and climbs of varying degrees of challenge on the doorstep and stunning views all around. Derwentwater, the jewel of the Lakes, is close by, with a host of water-based activities to enjoy. The National Trust manages the land surrounding the farm and is carrying out a variety of studies into the natural environment of the valley. We have strong links with the Trust and other local experts, and will collaborate with experienced guides to introduce visitors to the biodiversity of the area.
As well as revealing archaeological remains of an Iron Age settlement, the farm is home to many species, including barn owl, red squirrel, stoat, deer, long-eared bats and a variety of birds to name but a few. The valley is important in terms of ecology and conservation but is also valuable in terms of the impact such beautiful surroundings can have on an individual’s well-being – National Trust, ‘Places that make us’, 2017.
The Barn will be set up to welcome groups of young people aged 13 to 25. These groups will range in size from eight to twelve. Visits will usually be arranged between Monday to Friday. The Barn will be ‘bunkhouse’ style, with two sleeping areas (girls/boys) at each end, where there will be a mixture of hammocks and beds, with a communal area in the middle. There will also be the option of a private room. Within the barn there will be a connected sleeping area for supervising adults to stay. There will also be scope for family visits and weekend workshops.
Autumn 2018 saw the start of our tree planting programme. Thanks to to Pete Leeson from the Woodland trust and a team of brilliant volunteers we began by planting 500 trees. They are a variety of native species: Alder, Aspen, Birch, Hawthorn, Hazel, Rowan and some Oak donated by Maurice Pankhurst from the National Trust, with Crab Apple and Dogwood to come.
Thorneythwaite is also a working upland sheep farm, where there is a small flock of Herdwicks being managed by local farmer, Joe Weir. The annual rhythms of farming life are fascinating to follow and spark a lot of interest for visitors to the valley. In addition to the Herdwick sheep, Joe is grazing a small herd of Galloway cows. The way in which the cattle graze and are rotated through the pastures and woodlands can be very beneficial in regenerating the ecosystems and promoting biodiversity in the valley. However, the star of the show is Benny, a little fell pony who happily hangs out with the cows.