Mungrisdale sheepfold

One of the main impacts on my lifestyle due to this damn virus (besides working from home) has been that we’ve been unable to get out and about visiting galleries and exhibitions. So this blog has become a little more one dimensional than usual focusing almost exclusively on my walking. However, during my walk from Mungrisdale a couple of weeks ago I remembered reading somewhere that there was one of Andy Goldsworthy’s Cumbrian sheepfolds near the village. Luckily I had 4G reception on top of Souther Fell and a quick internet search took me to a site that revealed that there was indeed not just one, but two, in fields near Redmire Farm. So, as I expected to get back down to the village mid afternoon and was in no hurry to drive home on a fine day, I decided to see if I could find them. As it transpired, I wasn’t entirely successful.

Reaching the car I decided to dump my walking poles in the boot as I didn’t think I’d need them crossing the expected flat terrain. Following the directions on the website I walked about half mile walk down the road and then turned off down a farm track, and climbed over a stile to take a path across a field. Looking ahead I could see that there was a small herd of cows with their claves standing halfway across the field right on the route of the path. Well, cows might seem fairly docile most of the time but can get aggressive if they think their calves could be threatened and there have been some incidents where people have been injured when charged by the beasties. I decided to be cautious and veered off the route of the path to maintain my distance from them. They looked at me suspiciously as I crossed the field and as I drew level with them they all suddenly started to charge in my direction. Now I was wishing I’d kept hold of my walking poles! As it happened they ran past me stopping at the other side of the field.

Reaching the drystone wall I climber over the stile and there was the sheepfold.

Unlike the others from the project that I’d seen, it was relatively plain – a perfectly round structure, built using traditional dry stone walling techniques, with a narrow entrance.

The instructions to reach the second sheepfold were not so clear but I carried on across the fields to look for it. I’d read that this work appears to be just a heap of gathered stones but that it contains a finished sheepfold concealed among them.

I saw this pile of stones in the next field, overgrown with vegetation. It looked a little underwhelming.

But when I checked the project website on returning home I discovered that I hadn’t gone quite far enough – it was a little further on in the next field. Ah well, at least I managed to find one of them and enjoy the opportunity to get a “fix” of sculpture and tick off another one of Goldsworthy’s structures. I’ll be up that way again, and hopefully there won’t be cows in the fields next time I decide to try and find it!

(I had to cross the field of cows again retracing my steps. They kept their eyes on me again, but this time they stayed put)

14 thoughts on “Mungrisdale sheepfold

  1. I like Andy Galsworthy’s work – some in Dumfries and Galloway we still have to find. Cows terrify me these days (except the heilan’ coos which seem very docile). When I was a teen I used to take the family dog on walks (off lead) on the town moor where cattle grazed. Madness? Or have cows got more aggressive in the intervening decades?

    • Goodsworthy lives in Galloway these days, I believe.
      As for cow, I never used to worry about them but these days are more wary. Perhaps because of reading of incidents – or maybe because I can’t run as fast !
      As for Highland cows, they look scary with those horns, but you’re right aboutthem seeming docile.

  2. Saw my first one up on Clougha Pike in the Forest of Bowland a couple of weeks back (just put the post up) – not a sheep fold but a sculpture nonetheless. Very intricate work to create that degree of perfection.

    • Yes. That’s an independent work not one of the Cumbria sheepfolds (it’s in the Red Rose County, of course). But it’s a really nice work. If you ever make it to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (mark’s been there) there’s several of his his works you can see along with lots of other fantastic sculptures and sculptural work.

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