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Walking with Coleridge and Wordsworth

tooltipDiscovering Britain walk

Discover connections between literature and the landscape in Somerset’s Quantock Hills

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so the saying goes. So what makes a view beautiful? Who says that a hilltop panorama, a leafy glade, an open moor, a bubbling brook or gently rolling fields are beautiful? Actually our ideas of what makes the natural landscape picturesque have been quite strongly influenced by how people have written about them in literature.

In the late 1790s, the Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth spent a year in the Quantocks, getting inspiration for many of their most famous works from their walks in this lovely area.

This walk takes you in their footsteps, visiting many of the valleys and woods, streams and waterfalls, hilltops and viewpoints that they explored. See just what inspired them.

Discover how some aspects of the landscape have changed and others have not changed in the last 200 years.

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Uncover evidence of human activity in a landscape that looks natural. And think about what makes a view beautiful. 

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Walk Info

Distance:

7 miles

Level:
Hilly with several steep ascents and descents

tooltipHilly with several steep ascents and descents

Suitable for:
Dogs should be kept on a lead on grazing land

tooltipDogs should be kept on a lead on grazing land

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Region:
South West England
Setting:
Countryside
Landscape:
People in the landscape Preserving the landscape Exploiting the landscape
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Start:
Holford village
Finish:
Holford village
Getting there:

tooltipOn the A39 between Bridgewater and Minehead

tooltipServed by buses running between Bridgewater and Minehead; one bus every 2 hours

tooltipNearest station Bridgwater (11 miles)

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Quantocks

Up on the Quantocks, Black Hill
Rory Walsh ©RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

Quantocks

Holford Combe
Rory Walsh ©RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

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Route map

Select pins on the map to find out more about each point of interest on the walk

Walk kit

Choose between an audio or written guide: download and enjoy!

Downloads

Written guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this PDF file. You can save it to your computer or open it now. The file is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Audio guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this ZIP file of the audio commentary (mp3 files) and accompanying booklet (PDF) which contains maps and directions. You can save the audio files to your computer then add them to your mp3 device. This will vary for each device but you can use any supplied software (such as iTunes, Windows Media Player) or drag and drop the files. The PDF is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Extras
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double click to download this GPX file and load it on to your GPS device.

Photo Gallery

Find out what you might see on the walk - click on an image to view full size

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Reviews

Find out what other people said about this walk

I really enjoyed this exhilarating walk from the scenic village of Holford taking in mountain streams and woodland rides out onto the very top of the Quantock Hills. There were with breathtaking views out over Exmoor and across the Bristol Channel to Wales.

Andrew Mann, Near Lynton, North Devon

I spent many childhood hours exploring Holford Glen and call it 'My Little Eden'. As children we would collect sheep bones, take them home and bleach them for our science teacher. Our schools arranged many trips as well for nature trails and days out. In the summer holidays we would leave our bikes, unlocked, on the green and go off for adventures. A magical place for me - in my heart forever.

Sheila Lockwood, Somerset

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Links

Find out more about the walk story and places of interest along the route

External links open in a new window


Biographia Literaria or, Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life and Opinions (1817)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

London: Dent, 1956

Coleridge and Wordsworth in Somerset

Berta Lawrence

Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1970

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You

Bryan Adams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGoWtY_h4xo

The Historic Landscape of the Quantock Hills

Hazel Riley

Swindon: English Heritage, 2006

The Lime-Tree Bower My Prison’ in The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Poetical Works

Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Edited by JCC Mays

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001

Natural England

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Quantock Hills

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designatedareas/aonb/quantocks.aspx

The Prelude (1798/99)

William Wordsworth - Edited by Duncan Wu

Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997

The Quantock Hills: Their Combes and Villages

Beatrix F Cresswell

London: Homeland Association for the Encouragement of Touring in Great Britain, 1904

Stop Hinkley

Campaign against the power station and for the wind farm

http://www.stophinkley.org/

Coleridge and Wordsworth in the West Country: Their Friendship, Work, and Surroundings

William Knight

London: Elkin Mathews, 1913

Coleridge & Wordsworth: The Crucible of Friendship

Tom Mayberry

Stroud: Alan Sutton 2000

The Friends of Coleridge

http://www.friendsofcoleridge.com/

The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge

Adam Sisman

London: Harper Collins, 2006

‘Journal Written at Alfoxden from 20th January to 22nd May 1798’, in Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth

Dorothy Wordsworth - Edited by William Knight

London: Macmillan, 1904, pp 3-18

Lyrical Ballads (1798)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth - Edited by RL Brett and AR Jones

Abingdon: Routledge, 2005

Portrait of the Quantocks

Vincent Waite

London: Robert Hale, 1964

The Quantock Online Community

http://www.quantockonline.co.uk/

Visit Somerset

The Coleridge Way

http://www.coleridgeway.co.uk/

Recommended place to stay - YHA

Minehead

http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/minehead

Credits

The RGS-IBG would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in producing this Discovering Britain walk

 

Peter Coates for creating the walk

 

Jenny Lunn for editing the walk materials

 

Rory Walsh for taking photographs

 

Caroline Millar for editing the audio commentary

 

Nick Stanworth and Gemma Coate for additional assistance with compiling walk resources

 

The Wordsworth Trust for kind permission to use works from their collection

 

The Francis Frith Collection for permission to use an archive image

 

Andrew Mann for testing the walk and providing useful feedback

thank you
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