A labour of love - George Trevelyan's Langdale
George Macaulay Trevelyan may well be a name you’ve never heard, but here in Langdale we owe him rather a lot. George and his love for this valley have shaped what you see here today, so this year we’re celebrating his legacy and asking the question, what can we do to continue it?
Who was George Macaulay Trevelyan?
George Macaulay Trevelyan was born in 1876 in Stratford-upon-Avon, into a well-connected and affluent family. The family seat of Wallington was over in Northumberland but they often came to the Lakes for their summer holidays to walk, climb, relax in the outdoors and spend time together.
George first began holidaying in Langdale in 1905 and the next 50 years would see him fall completely in love with Langdale, inspiring him to become its chief protector. In later life he became one of the most influential and widely read historians of his generation.
He was also a passionate believer in the restorative powers of nature and used his influence and status as one of the leading academics of his time, to be an advocate for the public’s right to access green spaces.
" after a day's walk, everything has twice its usual value"
What did he do for Langdale?
In the first part of the 20th Century this beautiful valley became vulnerable to the threat of development; from forestation for industry, private ownership and the increasing demands of tourism. George recognised these threats, and decided to use his influence, academic profile and even his inheritance to actively protect Langdale.
George recognised that in order to protect the working farms in the valley, as well as the open countryside, the threat from development needed to be challenged. When he inherited money from his father’s death, he chose to buy Old Dungeon Ghyll, Stool End and Wall End farms which came up for sale; an area which covers 400 acres of the valley. George then went on to purchase Low Millbeck farm and Harry Place farm.
To ensure that these places would never be developed or sold into private ownership, and that the valley floor would continue to be accessible to all, he donated them to the National Trust.
George’s actions significantly shaped what you see today. Now, our Rangers work hard to continue to look after this valley; working with our tenant farmers, repairing footpaths so that visitors can access this magnificent landscape and giving nature a chance to recover by encouraging the return of wildflower meadows, native wildlife and the planting of juniper on the fell sides.
Few of us have five farms to give to the nation like George, but we can still help to look after the Lake District for the future. You can find out more here.
By becoming a National Trust member, staying at our campsite, having a pint in Sticklebarn or paying to park in our car park, you are helping us to continue George’s legacy by looking after this valley for ever, for everyone.
Thank you for your support.
Try the Langdale trail, available to download or pick up from Sticklebarn, Langdale Campsite or in our car parks: