Where to Follow in Wordsworth's Footsteps

07 June 2022 by Rachel Wilson

Where to Follow in Wordsworth's Footsteps

Do you ever wonder where William Wordsworth wandered as lonely as a cloud? Well, this blog will tell you some of the iconic places in the Lake District where Wordsworth was inspired to write his famous poetry.

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) is possibly one of the most famous and well-loved English poets, and intrinsically linked to the Lake District. He was born in Cockermouth and schooled at Hawkshead Grammar School before studying at St Johns College in Cambridge in 1787. He later moved back to the Lakes with his sister after some time travelling and living in Europe.

Dove Cottage in Grasmere

Although Wordsworth lived at Dove Cottage for just eight years (from 1799 to 1808) with his sister and later, his wife, it where he also penned some of his most famous poems including I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. He described Grasmere as 'the loveliest spot that man hath ever found'. The cottage has been refurbished with a new museum added which contains manuscripts, books and artwork.

Daffodils at Ullswater

When Wordsworth visited Glencoyne Bay on 15 April 1802 on the shores of Ullswater, he and his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth, were both taken aback by the sea of daffodils stretching through the trees. It is almost certain that here is where Wordsworth got his inspiration for his most famous poem Daffodils.

Aira Force near Ullswater

Aira Force, Ullswater © Mark Tripp

Wordsworth wrote three poems about Aira Force waterfall, with the most well known being The Somnambulist in which the last verse tries to capture the spirit of this stunning waterfall.

Wild stream of Aira, hold thy course,
Nor fear memorial lays,
Where clouds that spread in solemn shade,
Are edged with golden rays!
Dear art thou to the light of heaven,
Though minister of sorrow;
Sweet is thy voice at pensive even;
And thou, in lovers’ hearts forgiven,
Shalt take thy place with Yarrow!

The falls and surrounding area of Gowbarrow Park are owned and run by the National Trust, as is the area of Glencoyne Bay known as Wordsworth Point.

Dora's Field, Rydal

Dora's Field, Rydal © Alex Black

In 1813 Wordsworth moved to Rydal Mount in the village of Rydal, two miles north of Ambleside, with his wife, Mary and sister Dorothy where he would live until his death in 1850. The house and gardens, still owned by the Wordsworth family, is also open to the public. Nearby is Dora's Field, a strip of woodland owned by Wordsworth and named after his daughter. In the spring it is an excellent place to see daffodils and at other times of the year a perfect place for quiet contemplation of the landscape that inspired one of the country's greatest poets. Now owned by the National Trust, Dora's Field is easily accessed through St Mary's Church in Rydal.

Wordsworth's Lake District Calendar 2023

We have a very popular Wordsworth Image calendar which can be found here along with lots of other Wordsworth related products.

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