Top 10 poet's walks
Strap on your walking boots for National Poetry Month this April. Take a walk in the footsteps of some of Britain’s greatest poets and explore the landscapes that inspired their famous verses
DH Lawrence walk, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire
This 5.7mile walk around East Midlands countryside covers ground that inspired the poems of D.H Lawrence, who lived in the area. The route runs from Colliers Wood nature reserve through farmland and hills to the ruins of a 14th century priory. A museum dedicated to the writer is located in nearby Eastwood, where a short D H Lawrence trail takes you through landmarks of his life.
Poet’s Walk, Clevedon, Somerset
An area said to have inspired Tennyson and Coleridge, Poet’s Walk can be completed in a circular route along the coast and through woodland. The path also takes you over Church Hill and Wains Hill, an Iron Age hill fort. Enjoy far reaching views of Clevedon town and its Grade 1 listed pier, the Severn Estuary and on a clear day, the Welsh coast.
Poets Paths, Dymock, Gloucestershire
The countryside surrounding Dymock was the stomping ground of a group of romantic poets including Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Wilfrid Gibson. In 1990 a descendant of Edward Thomas opened two Poets Paths that start at the village and, over eight miles, pass by the poets’ homes. The poets also have connections to May Hill and the Malvern Hills, which are easily reachable via connecting paths.
Shakespeare’s way, Warwickshire
This route of bridle paths and country lanes is said to roughly echo the route that Shakespeare may have taken when travelling between his home in Stratford- Upon-Avon and his Globe Theatre in London. In its entirety the trail covers a grand 146 miles. Walkers will pass close to the Rollright Stones and through the Cotswolds, Blenheim Park, the Chiltern Hills and the Thames Valley.
The Keats walk, Winchester, Hampshire
Visit the landscape that is said to have inspired the romantic poet John Keats’ Ode to Autumn, which was written during his stay in the city in 1819. The walk runs from the city to St Cross, and follows the paths he took on his daily walks, past the cathedral and through the water meadows.
Wordsworth in the Lake District
The Lake District boasts many connections to William Wordsworth. A six-mile circular walk from Grasmere, where he lived, to Rydal offers the opportunity to see his grave and his homes. Otherwise, take a gentler walk around Buttermere Lake, an area frequented by Wordsworth, or nearby Cockermouth where he was born.
The Elwy Valley, Denbigshire, North Wales
Unpublished until after his death, 19th century poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote of the beauty of the Welsh landscape in his poem In the Valley of the Elwy. An AA walk ‘With the Poet to Mynydd y Gaer’ takes you from Llannefydd village and over one of the Clwyds hills, with views of the Elwy Valley and the Afon Elwy along the way.
The South Downs, Sussex
Described in poems by Algernon Swinburne, Hilaire Belloc and Rudyard Kipling, the “green, smooth-swelling, unending” South Downs have been called the “great hills of the south country.” Follow the 100-mile South Downs Way through countryside and along the coast, or explore the history, wildlife and villages that make up the landscape.
John Clare walks, Helpston, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
There are many popular walks near the village of Helpston that are connected to John Clare and the time he spent living in the area. Explore the Swaddeywell walk that takes in his favourite places, such as Oxey Wood where it is said he listened to bird song, or the Heath Hills and Holes walk that passes Southorpe Meadow and Walcot Hall.
Jane Austen walk, Hampshire
A 4.5mile walk takes you from Chawton, near Alton, to Farringdon, passing points of interest relating to Jane Austen’s life in Hampshire. Starting at Chawton, where she spent her last few years, follow a disused railway line and tree lined paths to the village of Farringdon, which she often visited. There is also a shorter Jane Austen Trail, which takes you from Alton High Street to Chawton.
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