William Wordsworth was born in 1770, in Cockermouth, on the Northern edge of the Lake District.. His father was working for the Earl of Lowther, a local landowner, whose descendant, the current Earl of Lowther, still owns huge areas of land in Cumbria and the Lake District. Wordsworth House in Cockermouth is now owned and run by the National Trust, who have recently renovated it so that it looks just as it would have done in Wordsworth's day. Wordsworth House Cockermouth is open to the public, and is well worth a visit.
William's father later moved, and the poet went to school at Hawkshead near Windermere. After a rather turbulent youth, which included a visit to France during the French Revolution, he returned to his native Lake District.
In December 1799 Wordsworth moved to Dove Cottage, Grasmere, where he wrote his most highly regarded poetry. Wordsworth lived at Dove Cottage with his sister, Dorothy, whose Journal is a fascinating insight into life at Dove Cottage. William and Dorothy discussed many ideas, and she was a great source of help and inspiration to the poet. Dorothy Wordsworth is usually credited with the ideas for Wordsworth's most famous poem, Daffodils, after she had written about the daffodils in her journal.
Dove Cottage, Grasmere, is open to the public. Dove Cottage is a very popular stop for visitors from all over the world. Personally, whenever I visit Dove Cottage I marvel at its size- it is very small and very dark. When Wordsworth married Mary, he continued to live at Dove Cottage, along with his wife and sister, until 1808.
The Wordsworth Trust now look after Dove Cottage and the adjacent Wordsworth Museum. The Wordsworth Trust is a charity, and welcomes visitors to help keep the Wordsworth home well maintained. The Wordsworth Trust organises poetry readings every two weeks during the summer. Famous modern poets, including Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and outstanding poets such as Simon Armitage, are frequent visitors to the Poetry Series.
Wordsworth left Dove Cottage when it became too small for his growing family, and lived at several other houses in Grasmere. He was not happy at any of these houses, and some of his children unhappily died during this time. However, in 1818 the family moved 3 miles along the road from Grasmere, to Rydal Mount. Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount until his death in 1850. Rydal Mount is a beautiful house, with a lovely garden. Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family, and is open to the public. Rydal Mount can also be hired for wedding and private functions.
Wordsworth was very happy at Rydal Mount, and he took and active role in plans for building a church in Rydal, next to Rydal Mount. When Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount, it was owned by the Le Fleming family, another old established land owning family, who still own much of Rydal and the Lake District today.
I live halfway between Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, at White Moss House, a house that William Wordsworth actually owned. Local legend has it that William Wordsworth wanted to keep a foothold in Grasmere Parish, which he lost when he moved out of Grasmere to Rydal. Having property in a parish meant that you could vote on local affairs, and Wordsworth was a campaigner against the proposed extension of the new railway line from Windermere to Grasmere. This is probably one of the reasons that he bought White Moss House, though he also bought it so that his son, Willie, had somewhere to live with his family. The Wordsworth family owned White Moss House until the 1930s, and even today we often welcome Wordsworth family members to White Moss House, as we now run White Moss House as a B & B guest house. White Moss House is not open to the public, except for those staying in the Guest House. It is quite a thrill for Wordsworth fans to stay in a house owned by Wordsworth!
William Wordsworth, his wife Mary, sister Dorothy, and other members of the Wordsworth family are buried at St Oswald's Church, Grasmere. The Wordsworth Graves are clearly marked, and are visited very year by lovers of Wordsworth.
Grasmere Village and Grasmere Lake are at the heart of England's Lake District. Visitors who come to the Lake District because of their love of Wordsworth, can follow his footsteps on trails and hikes around the area. Wordsworth and his fellow Romantic poet friends, including Colerdge, de Quincey and Southey, walked for miles in this beautiful area. Hiking is one of the main activities of visitors to the Lake District today.
The beauty of the English Lake District has also inspired artists such as Turner, Constable and John Ruskin, who were themselves inspired by the writings of William Wordsworth.
Wordsworth's Lake District is visited by thousands of people from all over the world every year, yet it still remains unspoilt, and it is still very possible to appreciate the natural beauty of William Wordsworth's Lake District.