You will find many wonderful sights no matter what time of year you visit us but here are a few specifics for you to look out for in Spring, Summer and Autumn.
It is in April that the beauty of the Beech tree first catches our attention. The pointed, dull-brown buds take on a more glossy hue, they swell almost visibly from day to day under the influence of the sunshine, warmth, and moisture.
When the leaves have newly arrived it is time to make beech leaf gin, otherwise known as noyaux – a French word meaning a nut liqueur. Its easy and simple to make, tastes amazing and will always remind you of your 4 Winds Lakeland Tipi holiday.
- Pick a bagful of beech leaves ( be careful not to harm the tree by dragging at the leaves).
- Put these leaves into a jar and cover with gin – the more leaves, the more gin you’ll need.
- Place in a dark cupboard and leave for at least 2 weeks – the gin should go a yellow-green colour and take on a nutty scent.
- When you can’t wait any longer, strain off the gin, pressing the leaves to get the last of it out, then to every pint of gin add 1/4 lb of sugar or honey, dissolved in a little warm water or brandy.
- The flavour is hard to describe – a sweet, nutty flavour, reminiscent of hazelnuts, or perhaps sake.
The elder grows in profusion around the site and in the many hedgerows around Ambleside and Hawkshead. The tree has an abundance of history and folklore surrounding it and was long regarded as sacred, protected by the elder-mother who resided in its trunk. (Many people would not cut or burn the wood for fear of upsetting the elder-mother.) Believed to ward off evil spirits, it was considered good luck to plant elder near one’s home for protection. The word elder probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “aeld” meaning fire. The white flowers bloom from late May and there are many delicious recipes. Below are two favourites.
For every ten flower heads I use one litre of water, 250-500g of white sugar (depending how sweet you like it) and 3 sliced and squeezed lemons.
Try to use freshly opened blossoms, and not the slightly brown fading ones. Give them a rinse in water then put in the pan and
bring the water to the boil, dissolve the sugar in it and pour over the elderflowers. Set aside for 48 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the liquid in muslin (or a stocking/pair of tights) and bottle into clean glass or plastic bottles. Dilute as necessary. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, or up to a year if frozen.
- 200g plain flour
- 250ml (half pint) milk
- medium sized egg
- Elderflower heads – 2-3 per person – with enough stalk to hold onto
- pinch of cinnamon
- grated zest of one orange
- Mix all the ingredients apart from the elderflower
- Heat some oil in a pan or deep fat fryer, dip flower head in batter and fry until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with a little icing sugar and eat with a dollop of ice cream.
Wild Garlic or Ramsons
Predominantly a woodland plant. The plant has broad basal leaves and a large stalk with a cluster of white flowers which appear from April to June around the campsite. They provide a dark green carpet and an explosion of colour and smell in late spring. The scent goes as the plants die back, so you are not aware of them the rest of the year. Mixed with Bluebells a woodland planting of Ramson can look spectacular.
Unlike cultivated garlic, the bulbs are very small and not worth bothering with. Just cut some leaves at the base without disturbing the plant. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The best uses for them are the simplest:
an omelette made with your freshest eggs with some garlic leaves snipped into them.
For something more substantial why not try Wild Garlic and Potato Soup:
- 25g butter
- couple of handfuls of wild garlic leaves
- 2 medium-sized potatoes
- 800 ml of chicken or vegetable stock
- salt & pepper
Melt the butter in your soup pot. Roll the leaves, cigar-fashion, and then slice across into strips. Add them to the pot and put the lid on. Let them soften in the butter while you peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. When the leaves are wilted add the potatoes and the stock. Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are really soft. If you like, add a spoonful of cream and liquidize the soup. Enjoy with damper bread cooked on your 4 Winds Lakeland Tipi out door fire
There many swans that live on Lake Windermere and bring their newborn cygnets up to the waters edge on Low Wray Campsite. See if you can spot them on the water or flying majestically through the air. And then read about them in your complimentary book The Queens Swans provided by 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis.
As 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis are situated in the heart of a working Cumbrian farm in the spring months there are many newborn lambs to see. Breeds reared in this area are Herdwick, Swaledale and Rough Fell.
Many Greater Spotted Woodpeckers make their nest in the trees around the site and can often be seen feeding their voraciously hungry chicks. They are about blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away from the observer. Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. The male has a distinctive red patch on the back of the head and young birds have a red crown. They can be found in woodlands, especially with mature broad-leaved trees. If you do spot a nest stand way back to watch so as not to disturb the bird and her young.
Nettles can be a pain, and nuisance in your garden but they are wonderful stinging nettles are a good example of the valuable natural resources that surround us, yet are often ignored.
For a basic soup you'll need about 7oz of fresh washed nettle tips (pick them wearing rubber gloves). Add 1lb of potatoes (peeled and cubed), a dash of cream and about four cups of stock. Boil the potatoes until soft and steam the nettles. Drain the spuds and add the nettles and stock. Bring to the boil, whisk with a hand blender, add a dash of cream and season. This recipe is very flexible and you can swap some of the potatoes for other veg.
forms a dense mat, smothering other plants; flopping stems root as they spread. It is probably the most common weed worldwide.
When growing well the lush top-growth is pleasant-tasting and it can be added to salads, made into a soup or a soup garnish. It is a source of vitamins A, B and C, calcium and potassium. It can be found in flower all year round, and is able to mature to seed at any time as well. The flowers are small, white and star-like with about ten petals and the pointed sepals behind them are longer.
can be found on the lane coming up to 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis and in quite a few other places around the site. The Arapaho relied on different types of tools for gathering food such as bags. One in particular is called the elk hoof bag, which was made out of elk legs. The four hoofs of the elk had to be placed a certain way before being sewn up to hold up the bag. Once this was completed, they sewed them up with sinew, stuffed them with a type of straw, and then dried them out, taking about a week to dry. Once the bag was finished, it was used to store berries, as well as many other things
Unlike many of today’s vegetables that we buy at the grocery store today, the vegetables the Arapaho’s gathered were much smaller in size. For instance, they would gather wild carrots but they were only about three inches in size. They also gathered turnips.
There are bilberrys growing in profusion on the path that follows the lake from Wray Castle through to Ferry Nab. They are delicious eaten as they are or made into jam.
Roe deer can be seen in the woodland areas of the site, these creatures are extremely shy, so if you do see one stand very still and quiet to observe.
These geese are found down by the lake in the field next to the beach area. Canada Geese are
primarily herbivores, although they sometimes eat small insects and fish.
Their diet includes green vegetation and grains. The Canada Goose eats a variety of grasses when
on land. It feeds by grasping a blade of grass with the bill, then tearing it with a jerk of the head.
The Canada Goose also eats grains such as wheat, beans, rice, and corn when they are available.
In the water, it feeds from silt at the bottom of the body of water. It also feeds on aquatic plants,
such as seaweeds.
We have our regular visiting pair of mallards that hang around for any scraps left by visitors. The female often brings her brood along to 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis' guests delight.