Flookburgh, where the Lakeland Miniature Village is situated is an ancient village on the Cartmel peninsula in Cumbria, which until 1974 was part of Lancashire. Being close to Morecambe Bay, fishing plays a big part in village life. Cockle and Shrimp fishermen still venture out onto the sands every day, nowadays using specially adapted tractors.
Flookburgh is sometimes thought to derive its name from a flat fish, known as the Fluke, found in the area. (Many people in Flookburgh say, in fact, that Flookburgh wasn't named after the Fluke. The Fluke was named after the village.) However, it is far more likely that the name is Norse, an adaptation of 'Flugga's Town'.
An alternative theory is this was originally a Norse settlement named for a chieftain called Floki – the old name for the place was Flokeburg.
The first known mention of the town was in 1246, but by 1278 Edward I was granting it a market charter, confirmed subsequently by Henry IV and even later by Charles II in 1663. These days, Flookburgh, situated at the southern end of Cumbria’s (once Lancashire’s) Cartmel peninsula, is an out of the way place, but in the 12th and 13th centuries when Cartmel Priory was powerful, it was on the route across the sands of Morecambe Bay, safer for monks and merchants than the perilous route through the forests to the east. In medieval times, a guide was needed to cross the dangerous sands, just as it is these days – they are extremely perilous, and the tides across the flat bay can come in incredibly quickly; a site worth seeing from the safety of the shore.
Thankfully, visitors today don’t face forest bandits in the half hour drive from junction 36 of the M6. An even better way to reach Flookburgh is by train, arriving across the Arnside viaduct, through genteel Grange-over-Sands, and alighting at Cark station a very short stroll from Flookburgh. Flookburgh was once a busy fishing port, and cockling, and more importantly the raking of brown shrimps by special tractors are still significant. Up to the 1960s the fishermen used horses and carts; the horses used to swim pulling the carts. The shrimps are turned into Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps with the addition of unsalted butter and some spices (particularly mace) in Ulverston. Another foodie treat here is the Flookburgh-made Cartmel sticky toffee pudding. Buildings of note in Flookburgh include the 1686 Manor House in the centre, and the Romanesque St John the Baptist’s church, designed by Lancaster’s Paley and Austin at the end of the 19th century. And the limestone cliffs of nearby Humphrey Head, now a nature reserve but rather ironically also reputedly the place where the last wolf in England was killed