‘The loveliest spot that man hath ever found.’ – William Wordsworth about Grasmere
The Lake District is undoubtedly one of the most scenic areas of Britain, and every time I go I can easily see why it provided the inspiration for so much of the Romantic Poets’ work, most notably that of William Wordsworth.
On Friday my friend and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and follow in the steps of Wordsworth by taking a walk around Grasmere, an area that Wordworth and his sister Dorothy used to walk (as is documented in Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journals), and where their graves can still be seen today. As we’re both avid photographers we took our cameras, so I thought I’d post some of my photos, and try and do justice to some of the incredible views and scenery around the area.
We parked up at the White Moss Wood car park, from which you can actually go on lots of different walks, including one to Rydal Mount which was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850. My friend and I however, decided to take a walk through the woods, along the river towards Grasmere village.
The woods themselves were incredibly peaceful as we followed a winding path alongside the River Rothay, with only the sound of the river and birds to interrupt the calmness of the area, far from the roads and traffic. You get the sense that the area wouldn’t have been all that different than when Wordworth and his sister, and his close friend Coleridge walked in the area in search of poetic inspiration.
Eventually the river opened out into Grasmere lake. We could easily have spent all day just sitting on the little stony beach the view was so lovely, but seen as we hadn’t brought any food (picnics are seriously recommended!) we decided to carry on towards the village of Grasmere in search of something to eat.
The lakeside path eventually came out on a quiet lane which wound around to the village where it nestled in a little valley. Lovely little stone cottages speckled the hillside either side of the road as we walked down the lane, and I found myself thinking of how much of a lovely place it would be to live in…if I could possibly live that far away from a branch of Waterstones!
The village itself is small, but there’s plenty of things to do and see. St Oswald’s church is certainly worth a visit, and at the back of the graveyard there are the graves of William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, his wife Mary and three of his children, Dora, Catherine and Thomas. There’s also Wordsworth’s Daffodil Garden right next to the church (as well as the famous Grasmere gingerbread shop!), which I’ve visited before when the daffodils are out, and it is pretty spectacular. Unfortunately this time the daffodils weren’t out (wrong time of year), but it’s still a nice place to sit, and I like the way the paths are paved with hexagon shaped slabs engraved with the names of people from all over the world who have visited the garden. It’s pretty incredible how far people come to visit the Lake District: people had apparently visited from as far away as America and Australia.
There’s plenty of places to eat too, and we went for a little pub/cafe called Potted Out. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the spaghetti bolognese, and it was very pleasant sitting outside in the sunshine, even if I did get horribly burnt (note to self – bring sun cream next time!). The village as a whole had a really chilled out atmosphere, with people sitting around outside cafes (mostly in walking boots with backpacks) enjoying coffees and beers and enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.
Eventually we decided to head back towards the car, so we bought ice creams (toffee fudge in a waffle cone – yum yum!) and meandered back alongside the lake and through the woods.
It’s fair to say that Grasmere and the surrounding area is an incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring place, and it’s easy to see how the Romantic Poets could take such inspiration in the rolling hills, vast lake and amazing views. For anyone interested in literature it’s definitely interesting to follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth, and for anyone interested in photography I really can’t recommend it enough as a place full of photographic opportunities. I had a great day!