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January 26, 2005

Beatrix Potter's fields

From Mrs Judy Taylor Hough

Sir, Your report (January 22) about the plans for the National Trust to break up High Yewdale Farm is distressing. High Yewdale was one of the many farms on the extensive Monk Coniston Estate which was bought by Beatrix Potter in 1930 on the understanding with the National Trust that she would keep half the estate and that the other half would be theirs “when they could raise the money”. The Trust achieved their appeal fairly swiftly but they then asked Beatrix to continue to manage the entire estate, including their half. This she did, until she reached her 70th birthday in 1936.

Beatrix Potter’s main purpose in buying land in the Lake District was to prevent the break-up of farms and estates. When she died in 1943 she left over 4,000 acres of land, her farms and her cottages to her husband, and thence to the National Trust on condition that they “let and manage the same on the same lines as previously let and managed during the lifetime of myself and my said Husband”.

Yours faithfully,
(Author, Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storyteller and Countrywoman, Frederick Warne, 2002),
31 Meadowbank,
Primrose Hill Road, NW3 3AY.
January 24.