Wordsworth Country
William Wordsworth

Wordsworth was unwittingly instrumental in bringing visitors to the beautiful region, now known as The English Lake District when he wrote his poetry which speaks about the wonderful landscape and the animals and people who live in it.

Born in Cockermouth in 1770, William Wordsworth went to school in Hawkshead near Windermere, before going to University in Cambridge, touring Europe on foot during the French Revolution, living in Somerset with his sister and travelling to Germany, he returned in 1799 with his brother and fellow poet, Coleridge for a walking tour. While walking towards Grasmere, they came across an inn that was closed down, ‘The Dove & Olive Bough’. He fell in love with the place and the Vale of Grasmere and in a few weeks had rented the building that would become known worldwide as ‘Dove Cottage’.[link to Dove Cottage page in app]

It was in this remote cottage that he was most at his most inspired and wrote the majority of his poetry, resulting in Dove Cottage and the museum wordsworth.org.uk alongside becoming a mecca for those who want to know more about Britain’s greatest poet.

As his fame grew and his poems became well-known, people flocked to Westmorland and Cumberland (now Cumbria) and whole guide books were produced, describing the places Wordsworth wrote about. Tourists simply wanted to follow in his footsteps and experience the same inspiration that he felt as he wandered amongst the fells and lakes.

By the 1820s, the area became known as ‘Wordsworth Country’.

People loved it! And the name stuck with travel brochures, train posters and road signs using the name until the 1970s. This is why we are trying to bring ‘Wordsworth Country’ into common use. You can register your support here www.lovewordsworthcountry.com

Scholars have identified over 160 places in the Lake District which were described in guidebooks by referring to the poet or his work. So we have put together this web app which allows you to follow in the footsteps of those Victorian tourists, see the words that were used to describe some of the locations that inspired the poet, find your way to those places and to see images of them today.

William Wordsworth
Published in partnership with the Wordsworth Trust. All content is subject to copyright.