Yew Tree Farm
Location : Coniston
Grid Ref : SD 320999
In 1929, when Beatrix Potter was 64 years old, the Monk Coniston estate came up for sale. The estate consisted of 2500 acres of land around the head of Coniston Water. It consisted of the well-known beauty spot Tarn Hows, seven farms including Yew Tree, Boon Crag, High Arnside, High Tilberthwaite and High Yewdale, as well as cottages, quarries and open fell land. She sold the half containing Tarn Hows to the National Trust, and bequeathed the rest of the estate to the Trust in her will.
Yew Tree Farm has been much photographed, drawn, and filmed. Its most picturesque feature is the spinning gallery along the front of the old barn. It was used for drying rather than spinning the wool of the Herdwick sheep. Such galleries were not uncommon until the early 1900’s, but since then have become something of a rarity.
Yew Tree Farmhouse is partly of 17th Century date or earlier, with a new end added in 1743. This date, and the intials of the then owner, George Walker, are cut in the ironwork of the front door. The farm gets its name from the yew tree, some 700 years old when it blew down in 1896.
You can find out more about Beatrix Potters life as a farmer in the National Trust booklet ‘Beatrix Potter and her Farms’ by Susan Denyer.