Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lonnin Head Dub,Drovers and the new playing field

There is a tremendous buzz in Great Salkeld at the moment, the Spring has been warm and dry and now summer is here, blue skies abound. All this good weather has brought all ages of villagers into the newly created Playing Field and has created a great feeling of village fellowship. In fact I would go so far as to say “ the new playing field has been the biggest boon to the village since the school opened in 1821"

Great Salkeld has been a great resting place for travellers for hundreds of years, however many of the earlier travellers were drovers moving cattle, sheep and also geese around the county and country even. The roads leading to and from Great Salkeld feature wide verges and these, allowed the animals somewhere to graze and rest whilst on their journey. Of course the local farmers used them to take cattle to the markets, such as at Lazonby or Penrith.

Cattle were brought in from Ireland via Silloth Docks and once a rail link was established for Silloth they were moved by train. I remember my father and uncle buying Irish Cattle to fatten at Cockermouth, sold in lots of 15 as this was the number that would fit in a train wagon. Other long distant droving routes no doubt ran through the Eden Valley as well, as Drovers moved cattle from Scotland to London and other cities.

Geese were also brought over from Ireland in large flocks and then sold as the drovers passed through the various towns and villages. The geese would be fattened ready for Christmas. To stop the geese having sore feet they were driven through hot tar which stuck to their feet, then sand which stuck to the tar, creating a protection for the feet of the geese.

Cumbrian author Irvine Hunt has written “The Drovers’ Boy” a book about Geese Drovers. This is a book that will appeal to all ages as well as those who enjoy reading aloud to children. It is in paperback and can be obtained from local bookshops in Penrith.

Part of the Millenium Project undertaken in Great Salkeld was to clear the Lonnin Head Dub as a wild-life area to protect the habitat of the resident and rare Great Crested Newt. Lonnin means Lane and Dub means a small pond.

The Dub was used by the drovers to water their cattle. The Dub is about a half mile walk from Wetheral Cottages and is part of a short walk that can be taken, around the lanes and side-roads around Great Salkeld.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home