EVERY child from seven primary schools across the Westmorland Dales has received a set of printed booklets featuring three local legends.

The stories have been re-told by renowned Cumbria-based storyteller Emily Hennessey, and the illustrations include artwork created by some of the children.

The booklets, delivered by staff from the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme in assemblies and classes over recent weeks, mark the conclusion of one of its projects, aimed at introducing children to local legends and folklore, helping to develop the children’s own storytelling, creative writing and artwork skills.

In the autumn term of 2022, schools had storytelling sessions with storyteller, Emily Hennessey, and many of the children took part in storytelling workshops and follow-on art sessions. As well as the printed booklets, their work can also be seen and heard in three short films of these legends, retold and illustrated by the children.

The three legends are closely tied to their local landscape setting, from the story of Mary Baines leading the hunt a merry dance down the Tebay gorge, to King Uther Pendragon’s attempts to divert the River Eden in Mallerstang and the strange antics of the Orton Dobbie in a remote farmhouse in the hills.

Amanda Walters, Interpretation Officer with the Westmorland Dales Scheme said: "The children have loved seeing their contributions come to life in print and within the films. I hope that they will remember these stories and retell them to their own children, continuing the tradition of oral storytelling in the local area."

The three local legends will also be performed live by Emily Hennessey at the forthcoming Westmorland Festival on 30th July, for adults and children to enjoy.

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, which has been funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to engage people in revealing, conserving, enjoying and sustaining the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. 

The films were released online earlier this year and are available to watch at the link: