23 January 2015

Winter Fashion

Hill Top Farm in winter
Beatrix Potter had spent most of her life in London, visiting the countryside for spring and summer holidays.  However, once she bought Hill Top Farm, she faced the snow, ice and rain of winter with her usual determination.
She wore skirts and jackets made from Herdwick wool and would visit her tenants with an old sack over her shoulders to keep out the rain.  No walking boots or wellies; clogs would be the standard footwear. 

Clogs by the spinning wheel at Hill Top
Cath, centre, wearing long skirt and jacket of Herdwick wool helping to plant the Beatrix Potter rose (not in winter!)

There are tales of her helping to dig sheep out from snow drifts.  Herdwick sheep have been known to survive for weeks buried in drifts, nibbling their own fleeces for nourishment.   These are luckier.

Winter snack bar

Cattle aren't brought in to keep them nice and warm; as ruminants sheep and cattle have their own built in central heating provided by their digestive system. However, trampling hooves on wet  ground soon reduce it  to a muddy mess which won't grow grass for a long time. 
Breakfast cereal? (mentioning no names)

  Edwardian farm wear was based on natural fibres and women would wear long skirts.
From BBC Edwardian Farm series - more pics on their website

Now farmers have a wide choice of materials designed to keep out wind, rain and snow. 

What the well-dressed farmer  wears to work
And National Trust Rangers bob around the countryside like winter robins.
Paul models Ranger gear

Even dogs have their own walking boots!
Sam modelling boot on sore paw whilst waiting for a walk
In between Beatrix's time and the present, I can remember Lake District walks meant sensible shoes and plastic macs and have fond (?) memories of students wearing clogs clattering along the corridor on their way to early morning practicals at agricultural college.  It wasn't that long ago!