If you’re up in the North, and thinking about a trip out this weekend, then Haweswater might be just the ticket for a once in a generation chance to see Mardale Green.
Living in what normally seems to be the rainiest county in England, it might come as a surprise that we should have a shortage of water. Yes, Cumbria, famous for floods will be on a hosepipe ban from the 5th Aug. However, this means Haweswater is low, which means that its now beginning to unveil its history.
You see Haweswater is not quite at first what appears to be. There was always a lake in the valley of Mardale, but in 1929 work was started to build a reservoir to provide a good supply to places such as Manchester. This project led to the evacuation of Mardale Green, along with farms all along the valley as the whole valley was to be flooded. Before the flood came the Royal Engineers, who were keen to practice their explosives and blew most of the buildings up.
Every so often, we have a water shortage and Haweswater goes down far enough that the village begins to unveil itself from the water. Last weekend, I found myself walking down the road of this ghost village towards the Dun Bull Hotel, past a wall that generations up until the 1930s would have walked past. I found it strange to walk over a series of stones that covered a water course, to find that despite all these years later, the ground still chose to use the same water course.
We then walked over to Bracken Howe Farm, once a thriving farm, now a pile of stone. There was something about the place that I can’t quite explain, the voices of a community gone. If the weather continues like this, they expect that more of the village will unveil itself, including the area around the church, where not even the dead now lay. They were not to rest in the soil where their families had laid them, close to home, but evicted to nearby Shap.
Its strange to be in a place that is eerie but full of site-seers. If you should go up, I recommend bringing wellies, as there is still quite a bit of mud. However, there is quite a few paths, so you could avoid the mud. I have a spaniel, we were never going to manage to avoid mud. Also, go either really early or really late. We went along at about 3pm and there was quite a lot of cars. There is a car park at the end of the reservoir or should I say, where the end normally is, but it gets packed on a weekend.