April 2020 will see the 250thanniversary of the birth of one of the world’s most celebrated poets, William Wordsworth.

In anticipation of this major event, The Wordsworth Trust today (xx March 2019) announces further plans for Reimagining Wordsworth, a £6.2 million project to bring Wordsworth’s story into the 21stcentury, highlight his relevance today and present a greater sense of intellectual, emotional and spiritual appreciation for his work than ever before.

Culminating in April 2020, the project will preserve and enhance the significance of Dove Cottage in Grasmere. After years of wandering and restless uncertainty in the wake of the French Revolution, Wordsworth returned to his native Cumbria to make a home with his sister Dorothy. They settled in this small house on the edge of Grasmere for what would be Wordsworth’s most prolific period of writing, where he would revolutionise English poetry forever.

William Wordsworth was a pioneering writer and an early environmentalist renowned for revolutionising English poetry and celebrating the importance of our relationship with the natural world. Inviting a broader and more diverse range of visitors to immerse themselves in his world, Reimagining Wordsworth will explore his radical ideas, and share the life-enriching power of his poetry. Transforming the site and visitor experience, it will realise the full potential of the Wordsworth Trust’s heritage and Wordsworth’s ground-breaking legacy.

The Wordsworth Museum, which houses a unique and internationally significant collection of Wordsworth’s manuscripts, books and fine art, will be expanded and modernised with new galleries and an introductory exhibition. Wordsworth’s manuscripts will be interpreted using new methods, making the experience more interactive and engaging, and contemporary voices will celebrate their modern-day relevance to give visitors a closer insight into his poetry, ideas and process of composition.

The project will draw on the expertise of world-leading specialists in the field of architecture, heritage, conservation and interpretation. Dove Cottage will undergo an authentic restoration recreating the home that the Wordsworths would have known in 1800. An introductory film will set the scene and, in the garden behind Dove Cottage, the orchard that the Wordsworths lovingly maintained will also be recreated. The cottage will provide a greater insight into their daily life in the place where Wordsworth produced the most famous and best-loved poems, and his sister Dorothy wrote her fascinating Grasmere Journalwhich will be returned to be displayed in its original home.

Wordsworth described Grasmere, now the heart of a newly designated World Heritage Site, as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’. To mark the intrinsic link between his writing and the local landscape, the project will also open up a woodland space, promote new walking trails, and create a new courtyard in the heart of the site. A viewing station will also enable visitors to connect Wordsworth’s poetry to the landscape that inspired him. Local residents will be closely involved through their contribution to sound points throughout the hamlet, bringing Wordsworth’s story to life in their own voice, and in the creation of a community sensory garden, a place for contemplation and relaxation. This garden will incorporate local plants and materials from the Wordsworth’s time and feature a moss hut, which will be a newly interpreted design of the structure that was built in the Dove Cottage garden by the Wordsworths as a sanctuary for creativity, conversation and reflection.

In the lead up to the anniversary, the project will reach out to both local and global lovers of Wordsworth’s work, inviting them to recreate their own version of the moss hut.

A learning space will accommodate a new programme of year-round events for visitors of all ages and abilities. It will bring poetry to more people through pop-up events, exhibitions and workshops, engaging community groups, schools and colleges with daily events during term-time, evening events for adults and family activities at weekends and holiday times. It will develop a lasting relationship with audiences and partners by providing meaningful connections to Wordsworth by harnessing visitors’ creativity through the connection between people, poetry and place.

Reimagining Wordsworth will provide a greater sense of intellectual, emotional and spiritual appreciation than ever before. Placing greater emphasis on the health and wellbeing benefits of engaging in creativity and the natural landscape, the project will introduce new activities and opportunities to learn and connect with the poet’s work. Visitors will learn more about the Wordsworths’ life, ideas and philosophies, and build a greater connection between these and our own ideas around landscape, environmentalism and living with nature. These personal stories and reflections will bring emotion to the forefront of the visitor experience and the animation of outdoor spaces around Dove Cottage and Town End will encourage a sense of mindfulness and acknowledgement of Wordsworth’s lifelong philosophy of the restorative power of nature.

read the full story at www.wordsworth.org.uk

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