Townend is a seventeenth-century farmhouse located on the edge of beautiful Troutbeck village. It was built for a wealthy yeoman farmer called George Browne in 1626 and remained the family home until the National Trust took charge of it in 1943. Now open to the public, it contains intricately carved woodwork, books, papers and domestic implements collected by the Browne family over more than three centuries.
A casual wander around Townend’s low-ceilinged rooms, furnished with dark-wood items made for the family, provides an insight into how some Lakeland farmers once lived. Better still, visit soon after opening and join one of the small tours where informative guides bring the site to life.
Among the most interesting features inside the lime-washed farmhouse are a Gothic revival chimneypiece, a nineteenth-century cast-iron range and a well-preserved Westmorland carved chair that dates from 1742. There’s also a substantial library that contains more than 1,500 books, including several that exist nowhere else in the world.
The building itself has three circular chimneys, typical of vernacular architecture from the period, and oak-mullioned windows. Thanks to a proliferation of wildflowers, the Brownes’ pretty cottage garden bursts into brilliant colour come spring and summer. Benches with views out over the Troutbeck valley make it an excellent spot for a picnic. Although it’s not open to the public, the site also has a stone-built bank barn, one of the oldest examples left in the UK.