Things to do in Hawkshead, Cumbria
The historic village of Hawkshead lies between Ambleside and Coniston, near the head of Esthwaite Water and is one of the Lake District's unspoiled treasures. Cobbled streets, picturesque greystone cottages, narrow alleyways and courtyards, its historic buildings all overlooked by the wooded Lakeland hills and fells. Hawkshead benefits from traffic free streets (ample car parking is provided on the outskirts of the village), allowing visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of a bygone age.
Hawkshead can trace its history back to the days of the Norsemen; the land belonged to Furness Abbey until the 12th century. The village grew into a thriving marketplace in the 17th century and was an important wool market, with many of the buildings we see today dating from that time.
The Norman Church of St. Michael and All Angels, built in the 15th century stands in an elevated position overlooking the village. The church has a rough stonework tower and contains restored mural paintings and the private chapel of the Sandys family. Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York was born at Esthwaite Hall in 1516, he founded Hawkshead Grammar School in 1585.
The poet William Wordsworth attended Hawkshead Grammar School between 1779 and 1787. The school closed in the early 1900's, but is open to visitors during the summer months. Here you can see the desk at which Wordsworth sat, his name deeply carved into the timber. Wordsworth lodged with Anne Tyson during his time in Hawkshead and the two cottages where he lived can still be seen, one in the centre of the village, the other at Colthouse; although not open to the public they can be viewed from the road.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery, contains a National Trust exhibition of a selection of Beatrix Potter's original drawings and illustrations, of her children's storybooks. There is a display telling the story of her life as an author, artist, farmer and determined preserver of her beloved Lake District. William Hellis the Lakeland solicitor married Beatrix Potter in 1913, and it is his office which houses the exhibition, the interior of the building remains largely unaltered since his day.
The National Trust own many of the buildings in Hawkshead, it is due to their careful preservation that Hawkshead remains authentic and unspoiled.