I blogged about the Heritage Open Days in Cheshire and today I blog about our road trip in Cumbria, with the same event. While these locations are really lovely, we wanted to visit them as a road trip, enjoying the drive between these places as much as the places in itself. We stopped for coffee or just to take pictures and enjoy the views.
We went to three places. The first one was on my list of places to go to, it’s a free English Heritage location. The other two had a special programme for the day, so it was very interesting indeed.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is a very old site, built in 3000 BCE. On a hill between mountains, it offers spectacular views. It’s the kind of place I would love to visit again.
There are more than 300 stone circles in Great Britain, but most are newer than this one.
Next stop was Hawkshead Grammar School Museum. It is a museum, open regularly, but for Heritage Open Days they opened the library too. Guided tours were offered throughout the day and a lady doing conservation work was there as well, showing us what she did and talking about the process. It was fantastic.
The school dates back to 1585. Children were taught there until 1909, when it closed because there weren’t enough pupils to keep it going. A guide told us a bit about the history of the school and answered our questions.
The desks were gorgeous, old and marked by students that studied there hundreds of years ago. Although the teachers teaching at that time I imagine were less impressed by these marks.
This is the chest where the deeds and documents of the school, like the charter, were kept.
The teacher’s room looked lovely.
We couldn’t take pictures in the library, which is home to about 1600 books, some from the 1600s. It was so interesting to hear about the library, when the books were donated and why. How they are recording the books and what is important in these books. For example, they had a marvellous of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. While this book can be bought for a few pounds, as it is a classic still in print, the notes in the book and who donated the book makes it special and unique.
It takes such a long time to preserve the books, weeks for a single book, as it needs time for the special glue to harden before the next bit of the book is glued and so on. The glue is made with natural ingredients as the new types of glue we use today would ruin the book. It’s a process of love and I’m glad I could see it.
Newland Iron Furnace was last on our stop. By then the rain was pouring down, so I have no pictures of outside. After we stopped the car we ran indoors as quickly as possible. This place is open for events and is not a museum one can visit at any time. There were a few very dedicated and passionate volunteers and we were given a tour. It was so lovely.
Pig iron was made there for over 150 years. It is now preserved and excavations are taking place to see what it can be found.
It was interesting to hear about how the ore was smelted to make iron, but, it was lovely to see local people involved in preserving part of their history.