Monday, 10 June 2013

Legend of the Gentle Giant

Woodlands are places of myths, legands and ghost stories, and the evidence of one such tale can still be seen today on modern day maps.

Let me tell you the story...

In the reign of King Edward VI there was Hugh Hird, the Troutbeck Giant, who was supposed to be the son of a monk from Furness Abbey.  Hugh was noted for his feats of strength and could lift huge weights that would cause even ten men to struggle with.  He was employed in the district to move great boulders and uproot trees single-handedly.

Hugh had the chance to demonstate his strength to the monarch and became a favourite of the court.  His appetite was as big as Hugh himself, and he could eat an entire sheep at a sitting, as well as porridge thick enough for a mouse to walk over for breakfast.

The King promised him any gift he could reasonably bestow, and along with a simple dwelling he asked for a stand of timber for fuel which became known, and still is today, as Hird Wood.

Hall Hill, the final resting place for the Giant of Troutbeck can be seen on the right in the forground, with Hird Wood, a National Trust woodland in the background.  Troutbeck Park Farm, one of Beatrix Potter's favourite farms can be seen peeping through the trees in the centre.

Could this have been Hugh's humble 'tenement'? (Forgive the out-of-season photo!) The valley of Troutbeck beyond is the best wood-pasture in the Lake District, maybe even the best in England.  This valley will see some exciting changes over the next 2 years to restore more of this amazing this space!

Source: Ghosts and Legends of the Lake District, J. A. Brooks 1988 Jarrold Publishing. 
ISBN 0-7117-0340-X

Ben Knipe
Woodland Ranger

1 comment :