‘How does the water
Come down at Lodore?’
My little boy asked me
Thus, once on a time;
And moreover he tasked me
To tell him in rhyme.
Robert Southey, The Cataract of Lodore, 1820
Having a genuine interest in English Romantic poetry, one December weekend, I decided to go to the town of Keswick (pronounced as [‘kesik] or [‘kezik]) located in the Lake District, Cumbria. My choice of destination was motivated by the fact that the poets Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey lived there at the beginning of the 19th century and where their friend William Wordsworth, a famous poet, visited them.
Below, I will reflect on the visual landscape of the area and nature as a public good. Finally, I will consider critically the issue of taste as defined by the Lake Poets. Altogether, this reflection should explain the social, cultural and economic divisions that I found in Keswick and its surroundings.
The visual landscape of Lakeland
The Lake District, also known as the Lakes and Lakeland, is a national park of North West England. I had a chance to see its northern part with the town of Keswick situated along the northeast shore of Derwentwater lake and surrounded by picturesque hills and mountains, scary caves and magnificent waterfalls.
Alfred Wainwright, a British cartographer and illustrator, dedicated 13 years of his life to exploring the landscape of the area and created seven volumes of A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells published between 1955 and 1966. Through fine detailing, Wainwright’s illustrations and maps depict not only the fells and paths of Lakeland but also the enigma of nature and its magnetism.
My perception of Lakeland was conditioned by the fact that it was my first visit to that area. I was impressed by the beauty of unusual colours of nature which I have not seen anywhere in the UK. The mountains of orange, green and brown with white snowcaps; the azure sky with lenticular clouds of white and grey shades reflecting in the surface of Derwentwater; black-and-white sheep feeding in the green meadows; trees and shrubs of marsh, sand and black; and pearl-white waterfalls altogether made up the palette of Lakeland in winter.