Lyth Valley Damsons
Also known as Westmorland Damsons, Witherslack Damsons and Kendal Damsons, are an old English native fruit, similar to plums. Purple-black in colour, with yellow-green flesh they have a delicious, distinctive slightly tart flavour. Damsons are found elsewhere in the UK, but the Lyth Valley variety is particularly aromatic
The orchards of the Lyth Valley in the Southern Lake District in Cumbria date back to the 1850s; the Valley because of its unique geographical features provides an excellent micro-climate for cultivation. The fruit, which is said to take its name from Damascus in Syria, was grown both as a crop and for use as a dye in the wool industry of Yorkshire. When that trade declined, many orchards were neglected or abandoned. However, in recent years, the Countryside Commission and local enthusiasts have brought about a revival of interest in the crop, and orchards have been replanted. The fruit is sold locally in season, and a wide range of artisan Cumbrian products is now made with damsons (to the extent this now sometimes has to be supplemented with fruit from outside the region). The Crosthwaite Damson Day is now an annual spring event.
Area of production:
Lyth Valley in the Southern Lake District in Cumbria
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