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Learning programmes for schools
and youth groups.

"I was hesitant as my kids have never stayed at a hostel before, but when we first parked the car and I saw children running around, I had a feeling it would work out fine. Fine, it did! The self-catering kitchen was a great hangout place for the family and to make a simple meal. At first, my teenage son was disappointed that the free wifi did not extend to the bedroom, but the kids made up their own games and it turned out to be one of the best nights we had as a family."

August 2019

The Green Man

Who or what is the Green Man? Why is this pagan figure found in so many churches and cathedrals? Is it a reminder that we all come from the earth and will one day return? Is it a symbol of fertility? Storyteller Lesley Melville sees the Green Man concept as an energetic life force, in tune with the earth and regeneration.

We can explore the folklore of The Green Man, investigating its relevance in the modern world. How can we use symbols and stories to explore our relationship to nature, promote care of the environment, and encourage sustainable use of resources?

The theme of the Green Man can be used as inspiration for a wide range of curriculum activities, from environmental art to religious education. It is an interesting part of our cultural heritage and provides a great trigger for worthwhile debates.

Allusions to the Green Man are often discreet, debateable, and unnoticed. It is therefore a great pleasure to find an image or reference to the Green Man and discuss its provenance, meaning, and cultural significance. You can find images of the Green Man in several places in Cumbria:

Cartmel Priory: carved into 15th century misericords

Brougham Castle: stone carving on the main tower

Carlisle Cathedral: carvings on the 14th century capitals in the choir

Crosthwaite Parish Church, Keswick: carved into the 14th century font

What are the different kinds of environments in the Lake District? What is a sustainable relationship with the environment? What is sustainable development?

The topic of sustainability links urban and natural themes, but the mythology of the Green Man takes you back to a time when there was little distinction between the urban and the natural.

Sample activities

  • Visit Crosthwaite Church and find the Green Man carving on the font. 
  • Research Green Man folklore and share your findings in storytelling sessions.
  • Use natural materials to make your own image of the Green Man.
  • Walk through the temperate rainforests of Borrowdale and learn about their flora and fauna.
  • Make charcoal in the grounds of the hostel and then use it for writing and drawing.
  • Investigate some of our modern relationships with the environment through a talk/workshop by local Environment Agency workers.
Derwentwater Independent Hostel
Barrow House
CA12 5UR
Telephone: 017687 77246

Thank you to Geoff Williams, Rebecca Laff, Fiona McCarthy, John and Sam Snyder, and KTA for generously providing inspiring photographs.
Thank you to Lisa Bamford at Stoats and Weasels for designing our website, and to Sam Snyder for building it.
© 2013 Derwentwater Independent Hostel. All rights reserved. Registered charity: 1145368