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.This 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! http://ullswaterway.co.uk/video.html
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.
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 www.c-art.org.uk
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.