Rydal is a small village strung along the main road between Grasmere and Ambleside. The nearby lake – Rydal Water, was a favourite with William Wordsworth, who would often have picnics here. The lake lies between Nab Scar and Loughrigg Fell.
Nab Cottage and Nab Scar across Rydal Water
Rydal Mount was home to William Wordsworth and his family from 1813 to his death in 1850. They rented the house from Lady le Fleming, of nearby Rydal Hall. Rydal Hall is now a conference centre and retreat owned by the Diocese of Carlisle. The formal garden at Rydal Hall (currently being restored) was designed by Mr Thomas Mawson, and is a splendid example of the work of the leading garden designer of the day, whose work is of national and international renown.
Lady le Fleming also built the nearby chapel of St Mary. William Wordsworth helped to choose the site, which was originally an orchard. The gallery in the church was reserved for the private use of the le Fleming family. Wordsworth family pews are on each side of the aisle at the front of the church. Wordsworth was church warden from 1833-1834, and there is a memorial plaque to him.
Not far away is Nab Cottage – a fine farmhouse dated 1702. Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859) spent much time at Nab Cottage, while courting Margaret Simpson whom he later married. De Quincey inherited considerable debts, and was forced to sell Nab Cottage in 1833 to William Richardson and his wife, and their lodger Hartley Coleridge.
Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849) was the eldest son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and spent his last eleven years at Nab Cottage. He was a noted writer, but sadly addicted to drink, and was treated as an adopted son by Wordsworth.
The Rash field, next to the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, was bought by Wordsworth originally to build a house, while he lived at Rydal Mount. The house never materialised. After his daughter Dora died in 1847, William went down to the field between Rydal Mount and the main road, and together with his wife, sister and gardener, planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora. The field, now known as Dora’s Field (above), is owned by the National Trust.
The River Rothay flows through Rydal village, from Rydal Water to Windermere.
All above photos by Tony Richards.
Rydal Church and the Langdale Pikes. Photo by Ann Bowker
- The Herdwick Huts – luxury Glamping in 5 Shepherd’s Huts in an idyllic location close to Rydal Hall