In fact you can stay at this rather lovely 17th Century Westmorland farm house a good deal longer than that, because in addition to being a very welcoming and cozy family-run bed & breakfast operation, Trainlands also happens to be a working dairy farm! Here the cows really do come home – on a regular basis, for milking. What is more, as check-out for a one night stay isn’t until 10 am it is possible for a Trainlands guest to watch the ‘girls’ come and go, udders swinging, in their traditional commute from field to milking shed as generations of cows have done here for centuries before them.
Trainlands’ proprietors, Carol and David Bousfield have run the farm for dairy and beef since 1969 and they love the farming life. It is people like them that maintain the land and keep the Eden Valley in the state that we know and love. If you’ve watched BBC’s Country File or the SpringWatch Lambing special recently, then you’ll probably know that farms no longer tend to support families these days, counter-intuitive though it seems, the economics of farming nowadays dictate that families must support their farms! Welcoming guests for B&B holidays is a sensible form of diversification when you consider that Europe’s single most popular tourist destination, The Lake District National Park, is currently within just half an hour’s drive from Trainlands. I say currently not because we anticipate some tectonic shift in the near future, but because the staff of Natural England are considering expanding the borders of either The Lake District or North Yorkshire National Parks to include the neighbouring Orton Fells. This would bring a National Park practically to Trainlands’ doorstep.
Furthermore, when you have free range hens laying scrummy brown eggs every morning, it would seem selfish not to share them! I can still remember the shock of experiencing my first really fresh farm egg when on holiday in Cumbria as a boy. The white was firm, the yolk ran golden and succulent – I just couldn’t imagine that such a fine egg could come from the same type of creature as the flabby, tired, many days old eggs of my previous experience. Yes, the world turned for me that day, new standards were set and I’ve been an egg critic ever since. Not an egg ‘snob’, I like to think, but rather a discerning judge of oval character.
Now I shall let you be the judge, but it’s only fair to warn you that after a sojourn at Trainlands’ breakfast table you might well end up saying the same sort of thing of Carol’s home made preserves as I just did for my first real country egg. There are jams and then there are jams. To say that Carol’s proud of her preserves should indicate that you can expect great things from them and might end up, for ever more, a cultured critic of jams and marmalades!
This area isn’t named Eden out of vanity, the gently rolling hill and vale topography is very pleasant to walk and drive through from spring to winter. Watching the spring lambs gamboling, pronking and playing ‘king of the castle’ is an experience likely to revitalise even the most jaded and world-weary of us. Nestled comfortably in its secluded valley, you’ll feel worlds away from the stress of the city at Trainlands and yet well placed to enjoy the rural splendours of the Eden Valley, Lake District and Penines without paying the higher prices of ‘Honeypot’ centre accommodation. Trainlands’ guest rooms are clean, bright and colour themed and there’s a snug living room to relax in after a day’s adventuring in the fresh country air.
What sort of guests do they have and how do rate their stays, I wondered? Carol explained that they host a wide variety of guests including families, couples, cycling groups, fell and coast-to-coast walkers.
Our conversation then turned to the topic of wildlife, as I’d spotted a red squirrel. Apparently there are also hares and badgers nearby and a good variety of seasonal and resident wild birds.
The Bousfields talked a bit about places to visit and things to do and see in the immediate area, recommending visitors to see Orton scar and Sunbiggin Tarn – the richness of Lakeland of course, is on the doorstep.
All things considered, Eden does make an excellent base for a recession busting family holiday in the northwest, being near both the M6 and A66 visitors are within easy striking distance of memorable day trips to Lakeland, The North Yorkshire National Park, the Penines, Kendal, Penrith or Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and all interesting points in between. For those who enjoy special train journeys, a ride on the Carlisle-Settle railway is a must, it can be joined at the nearby market town of Appleby-in-Westmorland (famous for its annual Gypsy Horse Fair in June).
In addition to all this, staying on a working hill farm adds that interesting extra dimension to the holiday and you’d be hard pressed to find a more welcoming spot to stay than Trainlands.
For more information including booking procedures please see Trainlands’ website http://www.trainlands.co.uk/ or simply call them up on 017683 51249