Inauguration of two Wainwright Installations on the Ullswater Way

by Tim Clarke

On 1st June two art installations, both designed by Tirril sculptor Jimmy Reynolds, were inaugurated by Derek Cockell, Secretary of the Wainwright Society, Friends of the Ullswater Way’s Patron, Lord Richard Inglewood, and Chairman, Miles MacInnes as well as members of the FOUW and the five parishes surrounding the lake.

The afternoon’s events kicked off outside Patterdale Post Office where a special plaque has been dedicated to AW. Derek Cockell explained how AW wrote in 1959 that : ‘I have a soft spot for the Post Office, this shop being the first to offer to sell copies of my first Guidebook to the Fells : an order for 6 was repeated within a week, a cause of much inward rejoicing.’


170601 PO Plaque Inauguration_Cecilia,Derek,Gillian+Tom,Jimmy
Left to right: Cecilia Fry (FOUW), Derek Cockell (Secretary of the Wainwright Society), Gillian Beggs and Tom Driscoll (Patterdale Post Office), Jimmy Reynolds (Sculptor)

170601 PO Plaque Inauguration_Group

By an extraordinary coincidence – serendipity – Swedish fell runner Niklas Holmstrōm was passing by at the time of the ceremony, and was one of the first to take a Selfie in front of the plaque. He set off on Sunday 4th June from the Moot Hall, Keswick to attempt to do all 214 Wainwrights in 10 days, inspired by Stephen Birkenshaw’s amazing 6 day 13 hour record. He is supported by Stuart Smith from Patterdale Mountain Rescue.

Niklas Holmstrōm on the left

From Patterdale Post Office, the celebration group moved to the Wainwright Sitting Stone, taking the Ullswater Steamer’s Lady of the Lake, from Glenridding to Howtown, then up the Ullswater Way to an idyllic spot (GR 4619 2148), beloved by AW, beneath Arthurs Pike. Jimmy Reynolds’ stunning slate sculpture  looks out over Ullswater. Two seats are carved into the slate to allow passing walkers to take-in the spectacular views of what AW described as  ‘that loveliest of lakes, curving gracefully into the far distance.’

170601 Sitting Stone Inauguration Group 3

170601 Sitting Stone Inauguration Stone + VIPs
Left to right: Miles MacInnes (Chair of FOUW) Cecilia Fry (FOUW), Derek Cockell (Secretary of the Wainwright Society), seated Gay Parkin (local resident), Lord Richard Inglewood (Patron of FOUW).

These inaugurations are the fourth and fifth in a series of art installations supported by the Friends of the Ullswater Way on the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail (the first, the Roman Seat on Barton Fell opened in June 2016, the second, the Dorothy Gate at Aira Force in April 2017,  and the third the Thomas Clarkson plaque at Eusmere, Pooley Bridge, on 21st May).

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Full details on the work of The Friends of the Ullswater Way can be found on their website (  The FOUW was founded on 30th March 2016 , and involves all 5 parishes around Ullswater. It has raised almost £ 20,000 during the last year to finance art and heritage installations on the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail. Particular thanks go to those who financed these installations:the Lake District Communities Fund, the Wainwright Society, the Ullswater Preservation Society, and Joe Faulkners’ NAV4Adventure.

The next inauguration will be the unveiling of Poetry Stones in Hallinhag wood, Martindale on Saturday 24th June at 16.00.

What’s new on the Heritage Trail?

by Anne Clarke

Recent additions to the heritage installations along the Ullswater Way are the third Poetry Stone in Hallinhag Wood, the Clarkson Memorial in Pooley Bridge, and two installations with Wainwright connections.

At Patterdale Post Office a plaque reminds us that the PO was the first place to sell Alfred Wainwright’s first Guide “The Eastern Fells”. Carved by local sculptor,  Jimmy Reynolds, it even uses the distinctive form of ‘w’ used by A.W.


On the high path from Pooley Bridge to Howtown, a beautiful Sitting Stone invites us to reflect on Wainwright’s thoughts on Ullswater, “that loveliest of lakes, curving gracefully into the far distance.” This installation is also the work of Jimmy Reynolds.  The Sitting Stone is located on the section of path below Arthur’s Pike and commands one of the finest views of the lake.


There will be an Opening Ceremony for the two Wainwright installations on Thursday June 1st – 2.15pm at Patterdale Post Office and 5pm at the Sitting Stone. For more information contact

The Poetry Stones in Hallinhag Wood, between Howtown and Sandwick, celebrate the work of poet Kathleen Raine, who lived in Martindale in the 1940s. She had a profound sense of the beauty and spirit of the natural world and wrote some of her finest poems whilst enjoying the peace and seclusion of the valley.


The artist Pip Hall has worked in situ to create the three Poetry Stones, carefully selecting appropriate stones, and carving Kathleen Raine’s words to complement the natural form of the stones. A small finger post on the side of the path invites those who pass to search for the stones. They are about 20m above the path.


The Poetry Stones will be inaugurated in a small ceremony at 4pm on Saturday 24th June.

The Clarkson Memorial remembers leading anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson who lived for 10 years at Eusemere in Pooley Bridge. In 1787 he helped establish the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The Society’s emblem was a kneeling slave in chains, surrounded by the words “Am I not a man and a brother”. It is this emblem that is reproduced on the Clarkson Memorial by sculptor Jimmy Reynolds.

Finished installation landscape

Members of the Clarkson family will attend the opening ceremony for the Clarkson Memorial on Sunday May 21st at 3pm.

In total there are now 7 installations in place along the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail and another 2, possibly 3, are coming soon. Search the Heritage Trail pages of the website to find out more about each installation. We hope you enjoy them and that they encourage you to delve deeper into the history and culture of the Ullswater Valley.

Photocredits: Poetry Stones – Jane Penman. Clarkson Memorial – Janet Wedgwood. Wainwright plaque and Sitting Stone – Anne Clarke.




Kathleen Raine Poetry Stones

By Jane Penman

Our second Heritage Trail installation can be found in a small clearing in the magical setting of Hallinhag Wood. It can be reached by walking a short distance north-east along the Ullswater Way from Sandwick Bay, or in the other direction south-west from Howtown pier.

The lines inscribed on three rocks in this dell are from two poems by Kathleen Raine, who lived in Martindale during the 1940s. Raine was a visionary poet and admirer of William Blake, with a profound sense of the beauty and spirit of the natural world. She regarded Martindale as an idyllic world apart and wrote some of her finest poems in the valley’s peace and seclusion. These include ‘Night in Martindale’ and ‘On Leaving Ullswater’.

The design and lettering is by Pip Hall, a stone carver from south Cumbria whose other work includes the Poetry Path at Kirkby Stephen and The Stanza Stones in the southern Pennines.

To select the stones Pip visited the site with local residents Jane Penman and Berry Patel.

She then made sketches for each of the three stones before returning to carve them in situ.


So far two of the three poetry stones are complete thanks to the Lake District Community Fund and we have just heard that The Hadfield Trust will provide funding for the third stone. We look forward to Pip carving the third stone this spring.

The poems from which the lines for the poetry stones are taken are Night in Martindale and On Leaving Ullswater.


Kathleen Raine   1908-2003

Kathleen Raine was a poet and scholar who wrote in the mystical, visionary tradition of valuing above all things nature and the power of the imagination. She knew from childhood that her vocation was poetry and her parents shared and encouraged her love of it. Born in Essex, she spent several years of her youth with her aunt Peggy Black in Northumberland, a place she remembered as an idyllic world. In the 1920s she studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge but turned away from the prevailing emphasis on rational thought to “the sacred springs of life, which are imagination and the heart.”

After Cambridge she married, but soon eloped with Charles Madge, with whom she had two children. This relationship did not last either. On the outbreak of WW2 she came with her children from London to live in Martindale Vicarage, where she became a friend of Winifred Nicholson and the wealthy art patron Helen Sutherland who lived at Cockley Moor, near Dockray. Locally, Raine was known and remembered as ‘Mrs Madge’. The peaceful seclusion of Martindale enabled her to write some of her finest poetry and in 1943 the volume called ‘Stone and Flower’ was published, with illustrations by Barbara Hepworth. Raine’s Martindale poems perfectly express a theophanic immersion in the natural world.

Her poetry had already achieved much critical acclaim when she met Gavin Maxwell, the love of her life, who was a fond companion but did not, to her distress, reciprocate her love. The title of his book ‘Ring of Bright Water’ is taken from one of her poems. In the 1950s Raine was made a research fellow at Cambridge, where her scholarly writing included her masterwork on William Blake and later on W.B. Yeats. She received numerous literary awards and honours, including the Queen’s Medal for poetry, and inspired many kindred thinkers, including the Prince of Wales. Kathleen Raine died in 2003, aged 95.

Autumn Colours and Bracken Harvesting

By Janet Wedgwood

As the bracken turns golden we know that autumn has begun on the Ullswater Way. The trees begin to turn and soon the woodlands become a blaze of colour.the-ullswater-way-in-autumn-aira-woodsThis year has been particularly stunning with clear, windless days providing ideal conditions for walkers to enjoy the autumn colours and see them reflected in the lake.


At this time of year, the track descending towards the fell gate above Pooley Bridge passes between high banks of bracken.



If you venture up to Moor Divock you may hear the sound of tractors working here and on the slopes of Heughscar. This is an area of common land, and local farmers have traditionally collected the bracken for winter bedding for their cattle. More recently, a system for composting the bracken has been developed by one of the farms to create a peat free compost, sold commercially as Lakeland Gold, and this has increased the extent of the harvesting.


Wherever there is a view of the slopes above you can see evidence of the harvesting – the bracken is mowed and then baled before being collected, leaving bare grassy slopes. Just occasionally, a bale breaks loose as it is deposited on a steep part of the slope and comes bounding down to cross the track, quite a dramatic sight!


Finally, thanks to Charlie Watson from Pooley Bridge Post Office we invite you to fly over the Ullswater Way and see the stunning autumn colours from the air. Enjoy!

One Year On

On October 13th it will be exactly a year since a group of creative volunteers gathered at the first meeting of the Friends of the Ullswater Way. We set ourselves a challenge – to create the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail, a series of artistic installations that celebrate the valley’s history and traditions, the people who live and work here, those who are and have been inspired by its beauty.

One year on it is time to celebrate what we have achieved, and share our plans for the future.

Whether or not you have already been involved we invite you to join us at Watermillock Village Hall on 13th October at 7pm to hear how the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail is evolving and what is planned for the next year.

We look forward to hearing your views and ideas.

Everyone is welcome.


C-Art along the Ullswater Way

Majestic scenery, ever-changing colours, the play of light on lake and fells, it is no wonder that artists have always been inspired by the Ullswater Valley.

As part of this year’s C-Art, Cumbria’s largest visual art project, over 110 artists across the county are opening their studios to visitors from 10-25 September and there are two Open Studios and one art installation no more than a stone’s throw from the Ullswater Way.


Just a short walk along the lake shore from Pooley Bridge Rachel Fenwick’s thought-provoking installation “A Place in Time” will catch you eye. Sign-posts with dates rather than place names invite us to reflect on the crossroads in our lives, the directions we have chosen and how our identity has been influenced by those decisions.

At the southern end of the lake in Glenridding village you will find Pat Dyson’s Open Studio. Pat likes to sketch and draw outside, capturing the colours of the changing seasons. She also does wonderful portraits.

Not far away, in Patterdale, Pat Cooke’s fell-side studio is a delight. Describing her work, Pat says “I like to capture the landscape and objects around me in as fresh and immediate way as I can”.  Pat’s artwork feels like a celebration of her natural surroundings.

Pat Cooke has designed one of the Friends of Ullswater Way heritage art installations, an artists’ seat that will remind visitors of artists from the past who were inspired by Ullswater and its surrounding fells. J.M.W Turner, John Glover and Ann Macbeth all loved the Ullswater landscapes and will be celebrated on a small plaque to be placed on the seat.

For more information about C-Art and to check opening times

Also not to be missed is the Dockray Artists Open Studio at the Royal Dockray Hotel. See work by Michelle Castles, Gina Farncombe and Joanne Mitchell.


Welcome to the Friends of the Ullswater Way Blog


About Us

The Friends of the Ullswater Way are a local group whose aim is to celebrate all that makes the Ullswater Valley special – the grandeur and beauty of its landscape, its history and traditions, the people who live and work here and those who are and have been inspired by the area.

Our first project is to create a number of installations along the Ullswater Way, each celebrating an aspect of the valley.  Each will be in harmony with the natural surroundings and created by local artists and craftspeople. More…

Friends of the Ullswater Way