Grasmere more than any other of Westmorland’s Lake District waters is associated with the Romantic poets who, in the early-19th century, shaped society’s view of Lakeland so profoundly that probably the majority of visitors have seen this region through their mental lenses right up to the present day. They brought a sentimental romanticism to this part of Westmorland, and to the wider Lake District, in sharp contrast to what had previously been the typical traveller’s view of “terrible” mountains and the native population’s focus on the practicalities of survival. Grasmere was at the heart of this.
Wordsworth wrote much of his best poetry while living at Dove Cottage on the eastern side of the lake, and is buried in the churchyard at Grasmere village. His poetry, the works of Coleridge, De Quincey and others, not forgetting Dorothy Wordsworth, continue to mould minds and shape attitudes to the Lakes even today.
Many artists have congregated here over the years, not least among which was Alfred Heaton Cooper whose descendents, artists themselves in the family tradition, still run Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper Studio. This view looks out from Red Bank over the lake and the village toward Dunmail Raise, flanked by Helm Crag and Seat Sandal leading on toward Helvellyn.
The following photograph of my own, taken in October 2012, shows the view from close to the same location, a little further down the Langdale road toward Grasmere village and therefore missing the island, a little over a century later.
Grasmere – Photo by David Murray, 2012
Grasmere is fed by the River Rothay which flows through it and out at the southern end of the lake taking its waters on to Rydal and eventually to Windermere.