Rydal Hall

On Saturday we decided to have lunch and a walk at Rydal Hall, we were also hoping to see the daffodils in Dora's Field. Unfortunately, it rained so much that we had to curtail our walk, and didn't walk over to Rydal Mount. But, in spite of the weather, we had a lovely day and enjoyed the gardens, parkland and waterfalls at Rydal Hall.

I always love literary connections with places we visit and there are plenty in and around Rydal, considering it is such a small village. Clearly there are lots of Wordsworth connections but today, I enjoyed thinking about two other famous visitors and their very different responses to the Rydal Falls.

John Stuart Mill visited in July 1831 and found the Falls to be:

"....the finest specimen of its kind which ever I saw. The bed, or trough down which it rushes, seems as if it had been chiselled several feet deep in the living rock: the sides of the ghyll are green, and richly wooded, but over the stream the rock is laid bare, and shews itself in crags above, and slabs and fragments below, superior in wildness to every thing I have seen of this class. The falls are only, in a stream of this character, like the most brilliant passages in a fine piece of music. The stream is all waterfalls."

Eliza Lynn Linton, in 1864, had a far less positive response to the Falls, writing that they are:

".......so pretty and well-arranged that surely their fittest place is the back scene of some pastoral opera, where the shepherds dress in velvet tights and silk stockings, and the shepherdesses dance in muslin and wreaths of roses. Certainly they are pretty - but they have been so trimmed and cared for - the trees have been so artistically disposed - the vistas so cunningly contrived - the channels have been so scientifically deepened - the resting basin so tastefully arranged - and the summer house is such a bit of picturesque trick, that one loses all perception of nature, and cannot but regard those very elegant waterfalls as artificial altogether; to the extent of easily believing in a forcing pump or a steam engine somewhere out of sight and hearing."

Today, they were in full torrent, following all the recent rain, and I found myself agreeing with John Stuart Mill’s description. Although the gardens were looking as elegant and manicured as ever. We're looking forward to returning when the weather is more clement. Hopefully, this will be whilst the daffodils are in  flower.