|In Baldersdale. Low Birk Hatt Farm is in the bottom centre|
We walked in Baldersdale this morning. It is accessed by two narrow roads that run either side of the reservoirs - Blackden Reservoir and Hury Reservoir. At the end of the valley both roads peter out, giving way to the wild moors that reach over to Cumberland. It is the roof of England.
This was the landscape of Hannah Hauxwell's first sixty years. She hardly left it. After all, she had no vehicles and she had no money. She lived in dire poverty at Low Birk Hatt Farm, unable to cope with the demands of making her inherited farm profitable. As she said herself, she was more of a dreamer than a farmer. But she never complained. Happiness and optimism shone from her like heavenly light. She knew very little about the outside world. To her Baldersdale was everything.
If you do not know who I am talking about, I blogged about Hannah Hauxwell last October. Go here.
|Low Birk Hatt Farm today|
Reading her story made me want to visit Baldersdale. When she was in her early seventies, Hannah left the only home she had ever known and went to live in the nearby village of Cotherstone. Low Birk Hatt Farm was sold to a doctor and his family. They modernised it and perhaps they remain its inhabitants today. I heard a man coughing like a coal miner, clearing his lungs but I didn't see him.
Close to the farm there are two meadows that Hannah Hauxwell never treated with herbicides or pesticides. They were purchased by The Durham Wildlife Trust and have been left in a pristine state for posterity. Butterflies and other insects flutter amongst the wild grasses and meadow plants. In her honour the fields are now called "Hannah's Meadow" which is a lovely way of remembering her.
|Insect life and thistle plant in Hannah's Meadow|
|The house in Cotherstone where Hannah Hauxwell lived for seventeen years.|
I feel like in a different lifetime, I could have been Hannah. Thanks for sharing all of this, Mr. P.
But she had no family and to you family is everything Mary.Delete
No balderdash going on in and around Baldersdale by the sounds and looks of it.ReplyDelete
The surrounds are so much greener than the countryside I drove through Thursday last, as I travelled to and from Beaudesert, a nearby rural township west of this mountain upon which I dwell. The cattle and horses were grazing in paddocks of brown grasses, not green.
Areas in the western valley below are still in drought-mode from the looks of things. Obviously, the region missed out on the consistent, at times heavy showers we received here a couple of weeks ago.
We have just had a mini-heatwave in England but unlike Australians we are not very familiar with heatwaves.Delete
Very few people get to experience such a walk. You have to chose and make the effort to experience such a pleasant walk.ReplyDelete
Several footpaths were marked on my map but they are not well-trodden and could be hard to follow.Delete
"Hannah's meadow" - that is lovely. Nice shots, YP.ReplyDelete
How sweet that Hannah is remembered that way. What a nice way to honor a person's life. Thank you for taking us along for another great walk.ReplyDelete
A living monument.Delete
A fascinating and lovely lady. I remember watching the original documentary about her.ReplyDelete
If a Yorkshire TV employee had not walked past that day in 1972, we would never have heard of her.Delete
Thank you for showing me how Hannah's world looks today. I am sure she would have loved the idea of having meadows named after her. Sad to see her house in the village in a rather sorry state, but the farm house looks good.ReplyDelete
The village house looked unoccupied. The old farm is no longer a place of work - instead it is a peaceful retreat with a conservatory on the back and a 4x4 vehicle in the yard. Hannah never went back after moving to Cotherstone.Delete
I watched two documentaries about her. In the second one she was sixty-six and her home reminded me of my auntie Fran, full of everything. I don't think Fran ever threw anything out and she didn't care for housework.ReplyDelete
She seemed happy enough but she also seemed very wistful when she talked about going home after spending eight weeks in hospital and having nobody to talk to. I like talking too much to have lived alone all those years.
Hannah Hauxwell's story certainly does invite us to reflect upon our own lives and life in general. What is important?Delete
So glad you got to visit Baldersdale, especially after reading Hannah's book. The most touching thing about this story is the meadows -- to think they've been preserved in their natural, pesticide-free state just makes me so happy. The world needs more of that kind of preservation!ReplyDelete
I agree but a sad thing about Baldersdale today is the farm and barn ruins. There's less farming activity than there would have been in the past.Delete