Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes, England

The Dales Countryside Museum is the less famous attraction in Hawes, home of the Wensleydale Creamery (seen in yesterday's post). The museum is also the visitor information center for the town and thus has a shop and a self-service tea and coffee machine. We had a quick snack then got to exploring the museum.

The Dales Countryside Museum

The first part of the museum is the "Time Tunnel," where the ancient history of the Dales is explained in fun, interactive exhibits.

L ready to enter the Time Tunnel

Stone age items from the dales

The Romans built a wooden fort in Bainbridge in the AD 80s. Around 200 they rebuilt the fort in stone to accommodate a cohort of 500 infantrymen from Belgium. A settlement sprung up around the fort and eventually the fort was staffed with locals. 

Roman display

Model of Bainbridge Roman Fort

After the Viking raids of the 800s and 900s, the area settled down with the Norman conquest. The Normans brought four new institutions for the locals: castles, forests, market towns, and monasteries. Forests weren't just wooded areas (obviously the local area already had those). Forests were areas (wooded or not) reserved for the nobility to hunt, thus why it was forbidden to poach in the forest.

Medieval times they are a-comin'!

Soon after that we were out of the Time Tunnel and, indeed, outside where we saw the railway carriages. The first carriage is a "Creation Station" for children to do art, crafts, and activities. J and L said it was their office and adults were not allowed in. Readers might think we were annoyed at this, but it left us free to explore the rest of the train which had exhibits about life in the 1800s and early 1900s.

The front of the train (the tracks go nowhere)

Various crimes circa 1830 (note no penalty for adults going into Creative Stations!)

A fishing net and a rag rug

19th century church furnishings

Patient customers waiting for their stop

Near the train is a variety of sculptures inspired by the Dales.

A coveted chair

Owl by Andris Bergs

Lead Mining Landscape by Ewa Gorska

L and Wensleydale Vessel by Anna Whitehouse

Aurochs by Jennifer Tetlow

We went back inside to discover the Local Industry, Crafts, and Farming exhibit. Many different professions were included like shoemakers, miners, cheesemakers (naturally), and farmers.

Cobler's wares and tools

A faux lead mine

Molds for making fancy cheese tops!

Artificial hives were put in stone walls to attract bees to gardens

L dressed as a farmer

Nothing in my hat!

We enjoyed the museum very much. Maybe a little too much, because it became very dark driving back (we visited in November when the daylight rapidly diminishes) and J was worried we'd be late for dinner. Luckily, we had some rice and cashew chicken in the fridge ready to reheat. Not a typical Dales meal, but a satisfying end to the day.

View of the Dales before it was dark


  1. Lovely to see you enjoying the Wensleydale Vessel Sculpture I made for the Trail! Did you look through the hole in the centre?

  2. The children did but I didn't get the chance. They are like whirlwinds!