Patterdale Village Store

Published 19 November 2017

Where it all began – Patterdale Village Store

There’s a shop that is an important one in the world of Wainwright bagging. It’s not a massively flashy shop, nor is it one that is particularly large in size. But size and image aren’t everything.

Sometimes it’s what you stock that counts.

For a small shop in a tiny village, Patterdale Village Store is certainly well stocked. There’s a wide range of food and drink, local produce and gifts. They’ll even do you a Cumberland Sausage Sandwich, or perhaps you’d like to make use of the tiny post office counter that’s open four days a week. You can even buy a set of Coast to Coast coasters to put your mugs on.

All very important.

But this is a store that also played an important part in history. For in 1955 an author walked into the shop with a book they’d published, and asked the then proprietor if they’d be willing to sell it. The shop’s owner took six copies. Within a week he’d ordered another six.

Checking my trusty guide to the Eastern Fells on the side of Great Dodd.

That book was Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Eastern Fells, and you don’t need a PhD to work out who the author was. But most importantly of all in this tale is that this was the first shop to stock any of Wainwright’s guides. A fact marked in March 2017 in the form of a plaque outside the shop.

In his 1991 book, Alfred Wainwright in the Valley of Lakeland wrote the following about the Patterdale store:

“I have a soft spot for the post office, this being the first shop to sell copies of my first guidebook to the fells: an order for six was repeated within a week, a cause of much inward rejoicing and relief since I had incurred a debt of £900 with a local printer.”

Other stockists followed, and the second impression of the Eastern Fells followed at Easter 1956. The second guide book followed a year later.

Since then, over 2 millions copies of the guides have been sold. And it all started at a small, not particularly flashy shop in the village of Patterdale.

Sadly Patterdale Village Store closed in 2021 after the owners retired, and were unable to find anyone to take on the business.

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