A Quiet, Bookish Day in the Lake District

As we've had a busy week, and a long drive home from Birmingham yesterday, we decided to have a gentle Saturday up in the Lake District. So, we headed up to Grasmere, to visit Dove Cottage and see the Dorothy Wordsworth exhibition - Wonders of the Everyday, and to have a walk.

Dorothy’s life was built upon wonder.  She saw things other people did not see, observing everything in intricate detail and with a boundless joy, despite living a life that often entailed illness, toothache and endless domesticity. The exhibition demonstrates this in numerous ways, highlighting the aspects of life that created this wonder – nature, trees, birds, the moon, flowers, mountains, household chores and much more.

Looking back over Grasmere Lake
As we were feeling in a very Wordsworth mood we followed  Wordsworth's "Upper Path" to White Moss Tarn or Skaters' Tarn. This is a small tarn on the Coffin Road from Grasmere to Rydal. The Wordsworths used to walk up from Dove Cottage or Rydal Hall to skate on the Tarn when it froze. Today was a lovely October day and the views over Grasmere were amazing and it was easy to say why the road from Grasmere to Rydal was such a place of inspiration for the Wordsworths.

Skaters Tarn, now overgrown with weeds

White Moss Tarn featured in Wordsworth's poem Independence and Resolution as the place where he encountered the leech-gatherer.

  Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
  A leading from above, a something given,
  Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place,
  When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
  Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven I saw a Man before me unawares:
  The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs 

Cottages overlooking Skaters Tarn

Bumper crop of funghi

Stepped path to a house on top of the hill

Round chimneys are popular in the area

Looking towards Grasmere Lake as we return to Dove Cottage

In Dorothy Wordsworth's words White Moss is a "place made for all beautiful works of art and nature, woods and valleys, fairy valleys and fairy tarns, miniature mountains, alps above alps." 

Thomas West called it Grasmere Hill and advised visitors, in 1778, to climb the Common to have "a view of as sweet a scene as travelled eye ever beheld"  and Thomas Gray's wrote: this "peaceful, happy vale will raise a wish in every reader to see so primaeval a place".

From Dove Cottage and White Moss Tarn we walked into Grasmere and enjoyed a browse around Sam Read's Bookshop, a stroll through St Oswald's Churchyard to see the graves of William, Mary and Dorothy and a visit to Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Shop for a spot of Grasmere Gingerbread.

Graves of the Wordsworth family
Some of the Yew trees which Wordsworth planted in the church yard

As we left the church yard, Lindsey spotted a heron beside the river...

...waiting patiently for a passing fish

As we returned to Dove Cottage, a reminder that autumn is here