New literature walking guide to Ambleside

New literature walking guide to Ambleside name

The rich heritage of literature in Ambleside is celebrated in a new walking guidebook.

The Ambleside Literary Walking Tour details the town’s long history of literary associations through a half-day walk, accompanied by words from the many celebrated poets and novelists who visited or lived in the town, including the Wordsworths, John Keats, Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens.

A trip to StockGhyll Force – a place of inspiration for over 200 years – is followed by a three-mile circuit to Rydal, passing a diverse mix of homes and locations that inspired authors, from the earliest writers to contemporary crime author Rebecca Tope.

The 44-page pocket-sized guidebook is written by Dr Penny Bradshaw, thematic lead for Cultural Landscapes within the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas at the University of Cumbria. She is also Programme Leader for the MA in Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District.

Penny said: “I am interested in the ways in which our imaginative responses to place develop and evolve over time, but also in how previous literary responses go on to shape and inform future perceptions of place.”

“I enjoyed seeing how the lives of the Wordsworths have been woven into this landscape. Particularly moving is the poem ‘Thoughts on my sick-bed’, written by Dorothy Wordsworth at Rydal Mount, in which she reflects on the ways in which memories can come back to console us during difficult times.  

“Dorothy’s voice and writings have resonated with me during the last year-and-a-half. Her commitment to close looking and enjoying natural environments close to home have been really inspiring.”

A launch event for the Walking Tour, featuring readings from the book by the author, book-signing, nibbles and a chance to view select items from the Armitt collection, will take place on 13 August, 6.30–8.30pm at The Armitt, Ambleside.

The event will also celebrate a new Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Cumbria and The Armitt.

Professor Lois Mansfield, Director of the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus said: “We are delighted to secure a new MoU with the Armitt Museum. We are fortunate to have a museum on our campus which has strong links to our heritage through their Charlotte Mason collection.”

Faye Morrissey, Manager and Curator at The Armitt, said: “Being sited at the tip of the historically significant campus and close to the main village centre of Ambleside, The Armitt is well placed to grow a dynamic programme of exhibitions and activities, supported by the University facilities, its course leaders, and the engagement of its students.”



  • Penny’s other publications include Ann Radcliffe’s Observations During a Tour to the Lakes(2014) and The Lake Poems of John Wilson (2012). She also penned an earlier literary tour guide: Literary Lancaster (2016).