An Introduction to Troutbeck
This website belongs to the residents of Troutbeck, a small rural community living in the Troutbeck valley in the Lake District in Cumbria, in the north west of England.
Geographically the Troutbeck valley lies mid-way between the towns of Windermere and Ambleside, cradled by the slopes of Wansfell and Applethwaite Common, following the Trout Beck (river) all the way down to the shores of Lake Windermere. Most of this area is grazing farmland and woods along the valley bottom, populated by a few scattered farms, cottages, larger houses, and the village of Troutbeck itself. Almost every building in the Troutbeck valley is over 100 years old, and many are over 300 years old. The whole Troutbeck valley lies within the Lake District National Park. Most of the village is a Conservation Area and there are many Listed and National Trust owned buildings.
The surrounding landscape is exquisite. The peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag rise steeply to over 2500 feet to dominate the head of the valley, and the Trout Beck runs through woods and farmland to plunge through steep ravines just before entering Lake Windermere at the foot of the valley.
The village of Troutbeck itself is really a collection of tiny hamlets strung out for about one and a half miles along the old valley road. It is a truly unique village, full of vernacular architecture in an unspoilt valley setting. It has three traditional pub/hotels, a well-used and recently refurbished village institute, one church, about six B&Bs, and a highly-regarded community-run village shop. The village shop is supplemented two days a week by a visiting post office service that provides vital services for many village residents.
The Troutbeck Valley
Within the whole of Troutbeck ward there are about 260 properties. In the most recent survey around the main village itself we counted 105 houses, of which 42 were second-homes or holiday cottages, and 63 were full-time residences, including 15 long-term rental homes. And in the Troutbeck valley there are 6 tenant farms – most owned by the National Trust. Several of our second-home owners have visited Troutbeck for decades and make an active contribution to our village community. But many are landlords renting their holiday homes to weekly visitors.
Although highly popular with tourists, Troutbeck has no official car parks, tourist shops or cafés; many visitors arrive on foot via its network of footpaths and bridleways. Visitor attractions in the Troutbeck valley include seven hotels, one Youth Hostel, a National Trust Property at Townend, and a large caravan and holiday chalet park at Limefitt which dominates the riverbank opposite Jesus Church.
Troutbeck's only visible industries are farming and tourism. But behind the scenes, broadband now enables an increasing number of residents to do some or all of their work from home. Just three buses a day bypass the village centre during the summer tourist season only. However, by car or taxi, Troutbeck is just a few minutes away from supermarkets, shops, doctors, schools, and many high quality tourist and cultural attractions.
Troutbeck’s permanent population includes both the traditional Cumbrian community and many ‘new’ residents who have moved to Troutbeck because of its beauty and tranquillity. There is a long-established and integrated sense of community. Some local families have lived in Troutbeck for several generations, and many ‘new’ residents have lived here for over 25 years. Almost everyone knows each other in the village, public meetings are well attended, and the village institute hosts many popular social events. However the farming industry is in economic decline, and property values in the whole of Troutbeck are now well beyond the reach of local people. Affordable housing, the increase in numbers of second homes, and the lack of younger families are all major concerns. The recent conversion of Troutbeck's old schoolhouse and proposed development of adjoining land for affordable homes has been a real success for Troutbeck's Affordable Housing Group in reversing these trends.
A love of the countryside and community are close to the hearts of all Troutbeck residents. Conservation of Troutbeck – as a real village and as a place of beauty – is a primary theme of this website. But even more importantly we celebrate Troutbeck's community, to show the world that Troutbeck is a wonderful place to live in, not just to visit.