Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Melmerby & the journey home from the Lake District

Melmerby is a small village in East Cumbria located on one of my favourite road drives in Northern England, the A686 (the same road that I used last year for the Alston blog post). Although the village is situated on a well travelled and popular road, it is a place where generally travellers omit to either get to their destination quickly or to continue the enjoyment of the roads twists and turns.
The village name originates from a Danish resident who stayed here during the 9th century called Melmor.

It may be surprising to know that I have passed through this village on numerous occasions stretching back to the time in my parents car when I was seven years old. Although I have never ever stopped here before, it has to be said that it has a mixture of insignificance to a 7 year old and not enough time for the Lake District Day or weekend visitor. As I was in no rush to get home, I decided to check out the most famous building in the village in a converted stone barn ... The Village Bakery.

The Village Bakery has been making bread and cakes for about 35 years and won awards for their organic produce. In more recent times, the success of the establishment has warranted the addition of a restaurant and shop opened by the organic loving Prince Charles who flew in by helicopter for the occasion. The founder & original owner of the bakery, Andrew Whitley, used a wood fired oven in favour of the poor electricity supply and locally grown organic wheat from a nearby watermill. Another local firm called Bells of Lazonby keen to join the process eventually gained a majority in the company as they wanted a bite or a slice of the organic ... Pie !! Andrew Whitley was more passionate about teaching bread making skills and began to run courses for those interested before eventually moving these training sessions to Scotland.

Although the Bakery is not seen directly from the road, the above building is, as shown in the title photograph. On looking for a place to park the car, I came across this unusual building for the first time. This was of great interest to me as an architectural piece and I had no idea what its original purpose was at the time. The details are a bit vague but it was originally a school house (1860 -1974) to the left and is thought to be converted into two houses. My research is not conclusive but I did come across two websites that suggested that Andrew moved down the road a little for the bread making courses and another that suggested the above property had a planning application in to run such a course. All very interesting but not currently topical as the building has been sold on to a private owner.

The Shepherds Inn on the other side of the road seems to be in memory, due to the painting on the pub sign, of a farmer and shepherd called Albert Bousfield Teasdale who lived and worked in the area all of his life (1880 - 1957).

Flowers and Fosters !! ... in memory of Albert ?!

Lastly I'm going to finish this trip,which has taken me far too long, a little distance further on with another visit to the highest cafe in England, Hartside Cafe with a few alternative shots.

It's a place where you can take a break from your journey and admire other machinery,

.... sample the delights of a no nonsense cafe as bikers and cyclists have this one marked on their list,

and it's a place where you can either get married !!  .....or otherwise lose yourself in solitude !! ...

(A last look for a long time of the the view looking west to the Solway Firth, South West Scotland and the mountains of the Lake District just out of shot to the left)


  1. A stunning view in that last shot. I could really spend some time on that bench.

  2. It looks a grand run. This is a road I've never used. I'll have to remedy this.
    It looks as if the house has a church tower incorporated in it.

  3. When I am travelling I also usually try to drop into such places as this bakery. The former school with the "tower" looks really original:)

    and the last picture is so nostalgic-good shot!

  4. There is always something very calming about shots of empty benches with a view.....
    I could almost smell the loaves in your third shot and the cafe certainly looks like the sort of establishment I would stop at whilst out cycling......


  5. What I appreciate very much in your posts and photos is the fact that you bring here the lovely atmosphere of the old English villages. It's something special about them, which I cannot describe, but it is purely English. I love the photos of the bakery and the inn.

  6. I love you visit and thoughts on this village. The bench shot is my favourite, I could quite happily 'sit and rest a while' there :-)

  7. I love bread and bakeries and that's good enough reason for me to enter and visit a village like Melmerby. The Inn and the Cafe go well with the bakery and its products.

    Kudos to you for the photo of the motorcycles parked in front of the Cafe building! Terrific photo! There's something vaguely surrealistic about it.

  8. I was wondering how I missed this when I suddenly realized it was because we were traveling home from Texas at the time it was posted.

    I would love to visit this part of England. Fun to have lunch at the highest cafe in England! And looks like the bakery makes some pretty hearty loaves of bread. Could they be used as a stone put at the Highland games?? I'm glad Prince Charles eats organic, but I don't put a lot of stock in other ideas he's got. I'm hoping the crown will skip a generation and that William has more sense. Why did I bring that up? I don't know. It's late and I'm tired.:-)

    Thanks for another good post.

  9. I love a good bakery, especially the wood-fired variety. Hope you sampled some--we've only started playing with bread in our oven but we've loved the results.

  10. JoLynne Lyon... I must confess I didn't buy in the shop because by the time I got there it was mid afternoon & it looked like that they had sold a lot of stock. I was just checking the place out for a late lunch and with the camera. Next time I'll be there sooner as you have now inspired me on that one.

  11. Yes be there sooner, do not take pictures at all,
    buy a loaf of bread and rest on that special bench
    with that breathtaking view!!!
    And let your soul be, dear J.!!!!!!


  12. Love those bakeries. I love your quote on your profile about the pain and pleasure in getting there!


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