The History of Our Birks

One Rainy Day

I went to The Birks with my friend’s family – we went in October and, as you can imagine, the weather was a bit hit and miss!! 

On the nice days, we would take all the dogs for long walks, have BBQs and I would practise my photography. There was one day in particular that was really, really awful weather-wise, and we weren’t really sure what to do with the day. My friend’s nan had the great idea for us to do a little baking. 

She had a fantastic recipe for Welsh Cakes, so off we went making them – we even had a small glass of wine, which turned into a bottle! As we were chatting and singing along to some golden oldies in the kitchen, we didn’t realise just how much mixture we had made… We had enough to make hundreds!! 

There was nothing else to be done, we used up all the mixture and we were all eating Welsh Cakes for the rest of the week! 



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The History of Our Birks

The History of our Birks

The high birks

The High Birks, located in the Duddon Valley, is near the tiny village of Seathwaite in the southern part of the Lake District. It is an old working farmhouse dating back many years that enjoys idyllic peace and seclusion coupled with magnificent views and outstanding walking and hiking opportunities directly from the doorstep.

The property was owned by the Forestry Commission and occupied by a tenant farmer until the late 1950s-1960s. It was first rented by The Grove School in 1967 and utilised as a field studies and “outward bound” centre until 1985. A that time, the Forestry Commission decided that they wished to sell the property rather than renew the lease. 


The Birks proved to be such an outstanding asset for the school that in 1985 the PTA took up the opportunity offered to them by the Forestry Commission to purchase the freehold of the property at an advantageous price that reflected the significant improvements that the school had carried out whilst holding the tenancy.

COver the early years of the school’s involvements with The Birks, hundreds of pupils and many members of staff had gained significant benefits from spending a week or so there. These benefits included not only academic opportunities provided by The Birks’ location, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, an opportunity to develop social skills, learn to work as part of a team and establish new friendships.

For many of the pupils, a trip to The Birks was their first stay away from home and it was clear that “The Birks experience” helped to develop a very positive working relationship between the pupils and members of staff who led the residential groups – a significant benefit that lasted for the remainder of the pupils’ time at The Grove School.


Having resolved to purchase the property, the school’s PTA managed to raise the agreed price of £35,000, mainly from people who had experienced the benefits that the school had gained from having the Birks. The fundraising was so successful that a small surplus was generated above the asking price, which was used to carry out some larger scale improvements.

These major improvements were carried out by local professional builders. In contrast, almost all the other essential but more routine maintenance and improvement projects over the 40 years of the school’s improvement with The Birks have always been carried out by informal “working parties” made up of members of staff and other “Friends of The Birks”. These generous people, with a huge range of practical skills and abilities, have donated many weeks of their free time to looking after the property and doing their best to ensure it is in a suitable condition for school groups to use.


To keep The Birks in working order, continuous improvements are needed, and The Birks Committee would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers and donators for their contribution – The Birks wouldn’t be possible without you.

The Birks thanks you for your support



Ambleside is a lovely little town with fabulous shopping opportunities. There is even a crazy golf course!

Due to the location of The Birks, Ambleside is around an hours’ drive. Once you have driven over Wrynose Pass, the drive is fairly straightforward, and it is certainly worth it! Ambleside is an idyllic little town with a range of activities on offer. From crazy golf to shopping, Ambleside is a fabulous daytrip!

If you are looking to spend the day browsing independent shops, having some lunch and exploring a little, Ambleside is a great location. 




Bowness-on-Windermere is a town in South Lakeland, Cumbria. The town is a huge tourist attraction, due to its location on the banks of Windermere.

Windermere Lake cruises have a large fleet of modern and traditional boats, which operate the full length of Windermere, calling at Waterhead, Bowness and Lakeside. For more information, please visit:

Bowness-on-Windermere has much on offer. It is one of the main outdoor activity centres, including:

  • Abseiling
  • Boat Hire
  • Caving
  • High Ropes
  • Paragliding
  • Paintballing

For those who are perhaps not so activity motivated, maybe a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter Centre is more your cup of tea? For more information, click here.

There is something for everyone at Bowness-on Windermere. If you don’t believe us, go have a look for yourself.

Bowness pier, where delicious ice cream can be enjoyed and you can feed the ducks!
Charming town with nice shops and restaurants - if you are looking for a day out, I would recommend!
Peter Jensen