Our traditional Lake District farm is steeped in literary history, Bank Ground Farm is perhaps best known as “Holly Howe” the name given to it by Arthur Ransome when it acted as a part inspirational source for his famous children’s story Swallows & Amazons, in which the house and its lakeside setting become the fictional home, Holly Howe, of the Walker children. Their adventures set on, in and around Bank Ground Farm and Coniston Water have become well loved the world over. The farm was extensively used in the 1974 film version of Swallows and Amazons starring Virginia McKenna and Ronald Fraser.
Arthur Ransome was a prolific writer of children's books. Born in Leeds in 1884, it was his father, a nature-loving history professor, who inspired his love of the outdoors and nurtured a passion for fishing. As a child he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays: sailing, camping and exploring the countryside. He used many of these holiday settings for his children's stories, notably the much loved Swallows and Amazons, a book that sits comfortably in the category of "timeless classic" and remains one of his most popular titles for young people.
It is the wholesome story of four young children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger, who set out in their boat (the Swallow of the title) to an island of adventure. All seems well until they encounter their enemy. At first they are angry at the invasion of their peaceful haven by these Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy, who claim ownership of the land. But in time a truce is called and the Swallows and Amazons become firm friends. Camping under open skies, swimming in clear water, fishing, exploring and making discoveries is the stuff of dreams which serves to make this so charming a tale. The author manages to capture the innocence of a time when all this was real and possible. Swallows and Amazons will transport children to a fantastical place where they can play safely and roam freely, without an adult in sight.
This spirit, hopefully you will agree, still remains today which is what makes Bank Ground Farm such an idyllic place to stay and keeps people coming back year after year.