Dotty’s diary tells of wandering Wordsworths

Dorothy-wordsworthThere is very little written about Dorothy Wordsworth but this year (2018) we’re doing our best to celebrate the sister of the renowned Romantic Movement poet.

We’re offering guests details of Dorothy’s walks in the Quantocks when she lived in the area with her brother in the 1790s.

Dorothy was a very interesting character who wrote a fascinating diary about her time in Somerset including details of the various walks she undertook.

Dorothy and William lived at Alfoxden House/Park near the village of Holford, which is now called Alfoxton, for a year. It was here that William became reacquainted with his fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was living with his wife Sarah at Nether Stowey, and the trio became inseparable.

They strode across the Quantocks daily and many of the views here, and on Exmoor, helped inspire Coleridge to write several of his most famous poems including the Ancient Mariner. Dorothy was also prolific during this period but in a different way.

She wrote in one entry of her Alfoxden Journal: ‘Walked before dinner up the Coombe, to the source of the brook, and came home by the tops of the hills; a showery morning, at the hill-tops; the view opened before us very grand.’

We’ve now recreated some of the walks Dorothy would have accomplished during her time in the area so that anyone wishing to re-trace her footsteps when they are staying with us can.

The main walk starts near Alfoxton Park, which is now largely uninhabited and partly unsafe, and includes Holford Combe and the dome of Dowsborough, a hillfort where Dorothy would lie in the sunshine with ‘Col’, according to her diary.

Coleridge found Dorothy lively, quick-witted and sensitive and, although the poet neglected his wife in favour of spending time with the Wordsworths, there is no suggestion of romance between the pair, just companionship.

After a day of rambling, guests here can relax in front of the wood burning stove in the lounge during the cooler months warming their toes, enjoy an award-winning evening meal or take a soak in one of the en suite bathrooms.

Keen walkers can stay with us, relax in one of our luxury bedrooms and rest their weary legs and sore feet.

We provide traditional country breaks with contemporary facilities. Guests can enjoy delicious food, sourced from suppliers and producers that are located as near to us as possible, and experience a good night’s sleep in one of our cosy beds with top-notch mattresses combined with fine linens.

Our food is ingredient-led and wholesome from breakfast through to dinner. Exmoor’s bees work hard to make our breakfast honey, we get our eggs from a farm on the moor and our bacon and sausages are sourced from nearby too, so we’re giving Somerset producers and suppliers a boost as well.

We also make our own bread and preserves. These are all the sorts of things discerning guests require these days and it’s a pleasure to provide it too.

We’ve spent the past few years revamping the hotel’s fortunes and creating a highly successful restaurant and boutique hotel with an excellent reputation for ambience, customer service and food.

We’re very flexible and will go that extra mile to welcome our guests and to be accommodating. Being a small, friendly, independent operation means we are flexible when it comes to customer requests and can react quickly and efficiently.

If you’d like to book in for a walking break, please call us on 01643 841 241.

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