What links Britain’s best loved poet to our World Heritage bid?

29 June 2016

Our spectacular landscape, with its unique beauty, has inspired poets and artists like William Wordsworth, and continues to inspire the millions who visit here each year.

Wordsworth famously described the Lake District as “a sort of national property” which he believed every person “had a right to enjoy”.

We believe his legacy helps support our bid to demonstrate why this cultural landscape deserves global recognition.

And to help you discover it too, volunteer guides have teamed up with the Wordsworth Trust to deliver a special series of World Heritage guided walks.

A source of artistic inspiration

Along with the other Lake Poets who were attracted to the area, Wordsworth (and his sister Dorothy) wrote poetry that was directly inspired by the landscape and its inhabitants. These writings helped set the scene for the early conservation movement and the formation of the National Trust.

Our Wordsworth walks and talks will help you discover more about this fascinating and important man and the people who influenced his life.

Walk leader Mike O’Donoghue describes how volunteers and the Trust have worked together.

Marrying Wordsworth's poetry in the landscape

For some visitors to the Lake District National Park the area is synonymous with Wordsworth. But while many may be familiar with his poetry, especially the poem commonly known as “Daffodils”, few may know much about the special places that inspired him.

The new walks introduced earlier this year and which are led by National Park volunteers, take place in Hawkshead, Grasmere and Ullswater and visit places of significance to William and Dorothy.

I and other interested volunteer guides have been supported by the Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage to develop these walks. Curator Jeff Cowton has provided us with valuable information. We were also given access to his original writings and one of the original diaries created by Dorothy.

Volunteer walk leaders Mark, Sylvia and  Graham with curator Jeff Cowton at the Wordworth Trust in Grasmere.

Pages from one of Dorothy’s journals

A commentary for the walks was created with help from interns from the Wordsworth Trust. The marriage of these notes to their related places and landscape will help leaders bring Wordsworth to life.

Mike with interns Charlotte and Simon from the Wordsworth Trust

The walks, which were new for this year, are already proving popular with visitors (so make sure you get to the start early for these ‘just turn up’ events!). There are more running throughout the season and we’ll be repeating them again in 2017 when we’ll also learn if we’ve been successful in our World Heritage bid

Join us in our bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site

You can help celebrate the identity, inspiration and conservation of the Lake District by supporting the #lakedistrictbid (share through this hashtag on Twitter).

Or show your support and back the bid for World Heritage status by visiting lakesworldheritage.co.uk

Want to know more? Come and chat to us on our stand at Ambleside Sports in July and at Lakes Alive events in August. Details available for these and other events on our shows and festivals page. Look out for more World Heritage walks next year.

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