Grasmere Primary School pupils and members of the Grasmere Village Society joined staff and volunteers from Friends of the Lake District for the installation of a new interpretation panel at the site of the old Grasmere village pinfold - a pound, or site where stray animals were rounded up.

The site next to the River Rothay was cleared by a team of volunteers, including many of the primary school pupils, during Friends of the Lake District’s mass volunteer event ‘Grasmere Fell Care Day’ last November. Funding from a Cumbria County Council Community Grant enabled the production of the panel.

Ruth Kirk from Friends of the Lake District said, “We wanted to include a task during the Fell Care Day that the community wanted to see completed. Access to the riverside bench at the old pinfold site was blocked by an overgrowth of snow berry, small ash regeneration and sweet chestnut.

“Now that the area has been cleared to reveal the riverside bench once again and the lovely new interpretation panel installed, visitors and locals can access this peaceful part of the village and learn about the history of how the village pinfold was used in days gone by.”

Friends of the Lake District worked closely with Grasmere Village Society to develop the information for the panel which includes an old photograph, supplied by the Armitt Museum, of how the horse-shoe shaped pinfold used to look.

The pinfold was used to hold stray livestock. A manorial officer, the keeper or “Pinder” (still a local surname) looked after the animals, feeding and watering them at the expense of the owner, who might also have to pay a fine to the lord of the manor. Its position next to the river helped with the watering. Animals were kept for up to three weeks. If not collected by the owner they would be sold at market.

At one time, nearly every village in England had a pinfold or pound. They are even mentioned in the
“Domesday Book”, but not Grasmere as it was then in Scotland!