Lyth Valley Damson Day celebrations enjoyed by thousands

Maisie Jones, Sophie Richardson & Mimi Bleakley with painted faces

Maisie Jones, Sophie Richardson & Mimi Bleakley with painted faces

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

CROWDS of people turned out today (April 12) for the Lyth Valley’s annual Damson Day despite the wind and rain.

An estimated 3,000 were expected to flock to the Cumbrian fair which is the first in the county’s show season.

Westmorland Damson Association (WDA) vice-chairman John Holmes said: “This is a real community affair aimed at families, and it’s a very popular event.

“Damsons have created a niche market in the Lyth Valley, and people have set up small businesses within a 50 mile radius,so we’re running it for them and the people in the South Lakes area.”

He added that the valley produces about 40 tons of damsons each year.

There were 60 stalls with food and crafts, as well as an itinerary packed full of activities and entertainment including the Crook Morris Dancers, fiddlers, dog competitions as well as cookery demonstrations from Kendal College.

Four walks were organised throughout the day to give visitors the chance to get up close and admire the damson trees in bloom.

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Peter Cartmell, 91, who organised the first Damson Day in 1998 and recently received an award from the Royal Horticultural Society for contributions in the North West, was there to enjoy the festivities.

Mr Cartmell, of Crosthwaite, said: “I was the first to get the Damson Association up and running in April 1996.

“There is a greater demand for damsons now, they attract tourists who come to look at them.”

And although the show is a magnet for tourists, Mr Holmes said they were not able to make it any bigger and received feedback last year from locals requesting that it stays the same size.

Kendal based Agnes Rose was there selling their damson vinegars and preserved products Owner Naomi Darbishire said: “I’ve been brought up with damsons, and I love coming here, there’s a real community feel.”

Staveley’s Friendly Food and Drink was also there with its Lyth valley damson jam, plus Winster Valley-based Cowmire Hall Damson Gin with their gin and damson Christmas pudding.

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