"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A Day Out in Bakewell - Part 1: Walk round the Town and the Famous Puddings

We had a family day out this weekend to celebrate E's birthday. I hopefully suggested Ryton Woods and the bluebells which everyone else turned a deaf ear to :( E had mentioned last year that she wanted to go to Ely (cathedral and stained glass museum, I thought :) ) but a few weeks ago she announced she wanted to go to Bakewell in the Peak District.

Bakewell is the ancient capital of the Peaks and has been a market town since Saxon times beginning initially as a place where traders from all over Peakland sold their wares.Today there is still a weekly market and a thriving livestock market. It has been a tourist centre since Elizabeth times when it became a base for travellers to visit the Seven Wonders of the Peak. It was named after Badeca's Well illustrating the importance of its springs. It once almost became a Spa Town but failed because the temperature from the spring was 11 degrees centigrade - half the temperature of the spring at nearby Buxton. Its best known today for its famous confection which was once made by mistake but more of that later.

Yellow Archangel lining the path that led from the car park to the town centre.

The town is located on the River Wye.

I was puzzled by the meaning of all these padlocks on the railings on each side of the bridge but apparently they are Lover's Locks. Couples put their initials on the locks, put them on the bridge and then throw away the key expressing their love for each other. I think the custom is quite common in Paris and it seems to be spreading round the world.

The toilets in the town were remarkably spick and span and I noticed this sign on the wall on the way out!

This was a very pretty little courtyard - full of interesting wares - could have spent a small fortune here!

We don't normally go out Bank Holiday weekends as it can be so busy everywhere and the town just got busier and busier as the morning wore on. When we arrived there was an overflowing caravan park on the outskirts and we discovered it was the weekend of a Showground Spectacular no doubt explaining why there were so many people about.

We didn't see any real butterflies - far too cold about 9 degrees C!!but I thought the paper ones in this shop window were very pretty.

This hare sculpture took my eye - one of these days I'll save up for one.

Back at home B has been clearing neglected pots on the patio and he came across a holly type plant which had become very straggly and he had talked of getting rid of it :( So I was really pleased to see this rather neat little plant in a pot with pretty white flowers and tiny red berries which is exactly the same. B has promised to prune ours and hopefully it will become as bushy as this particular one.

The Rutland Arms Hotel built on the site of the White Horse Inn

One of the main reasons E seemed to have picked Bakewell as our destination is her love of Bakewell Tarts and you can't walk round the town without being reminded of the connection every step of the way. There is some suggestion that Bakewell Puddings (as the original was called) have been around since medieval times but the claim is that the recipe was made accidentally at the Rutland Arms sometime during the nineteenth century. Apparently Mrs Graves (or Greaves as more recent research has suggested), owner of the Hotel was asked by a guest for a Strawberry Tart for pudding. The kitchen assistant was very inexperienced at cooking and mixed up the ingredients creating a non-sweet pastry. Apparently the pudding was a huge success and Mrs Grave/Greaves made a note of the ingredients and from then on it was known as the Bakewell Pudding.

As you walk round the town you see several shops claiming to sell the original pudding.

One claim is that Mrs Graves/Greaves left the secret recipe in her will to a Mr. Radford who later gave it to a Mr. Bloomer. Bloomer's Shop (see photos below) still makes and sells its own original Bakewell Pudding.

I loved this fairy house carved in the wood in the shop.

I bought 4 Bakewell Tarts here (the more up to date version) and very tasty they were too.

But then we have another claim - a Mrs Wilson, wife of a Tallow Chandler, lived in a cottage now called The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop (see photos below) and, recognising a business opportunity, she obtained the recipe and started to make puddings for sale.

Sorry about all the people - it was raining heavily at this time and we were on our way back to the car so I didn't want to linger to get a people free shot!

Bakewell Pudding made to the original recipe - there's a lot of grease on the paper - reckon that's a very buttery puff pastry! I haven't tried any of this yet although B has and said it was very sweet.

Bakewell is a very "foody" town - lots of other shops selling Bakewell goodies - for all I know there were even more I didn't see claiming to sell the original.

I would put on a lot of weight if I lived in this town!

The vintage shop was very interesting - somewhere buried in this photo is a rabbit/hare jelly mould which I was very tempted to buy even though I don't make jelly or blancmange these days (too many problems with using gelatine as its not vegetarian. You can buy a veggie version which I must try one day).

In the distance of this photo you can see All Saints Church - sorry rubbish photo it had gone very dark and gloomy by this time. I had done a bit of research in advance and I really did want to try and visit the church - Anglo Saxon crosses in the churchyard, a superb 14th century font, misericords galore and a Kempe window.

We all wanted a coffee/tea and cake by this time but the coffee shops were very busy so we walked away from the town to try and find somewhere quieter. As luck would have it there was a tea room in the church so I left B, D and E enjoying their snack whilst I had a look round the church itself.

I'll post some photos in a second post in a few days as there really are far too many already.


Margaret Adamson said...

A very interesting town and I enjoyed reading your post about Bakewell tart/ pudding and seeing all your wonderful shots as you walked round it.

Countryside Tales said...

Brilliant post! I know nothing about Bakewell so it was fascinating to read about it and see your wonderful photos. It looks a very pretty place. I love that you bought two types of the pudding, just for research purposes obviously- very dedicated! x

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret for your very kind comment. So glad you enjoyed :)

Countryside Tales - Thanks very much CT - so pleased you enjoyed reading about Bakewell. It was the first time I had ever visited too. lol re: the last sentence - sadly all tested now and disappeared :)

SeagullSuzie said...

A great trip out. I loved that courtyard, packed full of beautiful things, I would have come home with some purchases I'm sure!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Bought a bakewell for an ex once upon a day. Didn't help me get back with her.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks Suzie - under the beady eye of Mr RR I was very good and only came home with the tarts, pudding and guide book to church!

Simon Douglas Thompson - That's a shame Simon - especially as it was such a nice gift!

amanda peters said...

What a wonderful place RR, yet another place I would love to see, would be heading for the court yard shop, all those goodies and I spotted some sheep! one of those would be coming home.
All the food shops look lovely too.
Amanda xx

Sarah said...

Nice to read your post. We went to Bakewell a couple of years ago. Lovely place. We bought the Bakewell tart also. I love all the padlocks. Have a good week.

Bovey Belle said...

We've been here a few times as eldest daughter's boyfriend grew up in this town and his parents still there. It always seems to be a busy place. Great photos and I am glad you enjoyed your day, despite the weather.

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda. The courtyard was a brilliant discovery and compared to the rest of the town quite quiet :)

Sarah - Thank you. Rather enjoyed the tarts and pudding :) Have a lovely week too.

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. Yes, I can imagine it would be busy most of the time especially weekends and holiday time. Reminded me a bit tourist wise of some of those Cotswold villages that are always heaving with people!

David Turner said...

And I thought Malton had a lot of bakery's and food shops! Since I have never visited Bakewell I enjoyed this tour of the town and I am very much looking forward to Part 2 :-)

PS. I do hope you get to visit Ely sometime, it is a lovely little city and near some really good nature reserves as well.

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks so much David. It is a lovely town apart from the crowds! Some nice walks round there too.

By coincidence I did think of going to Ely a few years ago on my birthday to try and combine the city and Ouse Washes! But my birthday is in December and the reserve at the time was closed due to flooding! Very much hope we can get there some time. Although may have to make 2 visits to fit it all in! :)

Deb said...

What a great post and tour around a lovely quaint place. The courtyard's just my kind of shop. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thank you so much - I am really glad you enjoyed the post. Lots of lovely shops there :)