Beatrix Potter spent many family holidays in the Lake District exploring and sketching the wildlife and changing nuances of the British countryside. In 1905 she purchased Hill Top farm in the Cumbria village of Near Sawrey, aided by the proceeds from her first ‘little books’.

Potter went on to acquire other farms and land in the area and in 1913 she married the Hawkshead solicitor William Heelis. She spent ever less time in London and soon farming became her chief interest and occupation instead of stories and illustration. After her death in 1943, the Heelis Bequest gave over 4300 acres to the National Trust’s holdings in the Lake District. Fields, farms, cottages, houses and woodland were given on the condition that they would be preserved and the farms kept as working farms.