Famed by Wordsworth in his famous poem 'Yew Trees', the Vale of Lorton is one of the prettiest parts of the Lake District.The vale runs in a threadwork of highly scenic valley's from the small town of Cockermouth to Keswick. Cockermouth is renowned as the birthplace of William Wordsworth who was born there in 1770 and Keswick, lying beside picturesque Derwentwater has been a favoured holiday resort since Victorian times.
The valley is ringed by dramatic scenery, it is overlooked by Carling Knott and Grassmoor, and contains the lakes, Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere. At the lower end of the valley there is access to Keswick via the Honister Pass and Borrowdale.
This is a region popular with walkers. As well as challenging hikes there are delightful walks for the novice walker, one of the prettiest taking you to the waterfall at Scale Force. There is also old scattered villages to wander. Of these Lorton village, immortalised through Wordsworth's poem, is one of the most interesting. Wordsworth's ancient Yew Tree can still be seen in the village, it lies just behind the village hall on the bank of Hope Beck and interestingly, it was featured in the BBC's recent production Fascinating Trees. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preached from the shadow of the tree in 1752, as did George Fox, who founded the Quaker movement, at this time the crowd beneath the tree included soldiers from Cromwell's army. Lorton has some attractive buildings and although not open to the public, Lorton Hall, a manor house dating from 1663 attached to a pele tower, is well worth a glimpse. Another place deserving of your time is Lorton village church built in the early part of the 19th-century to replace the old St. Cuthbert's of C1200. The church is a simple, yet graceful building which somehow seems to perfectly reflect the quiet mood of this peaceful village.
With its clusters of tiny hamlets and villages, lakes, tarns, rivers and dramatic passes, the tranquil Vale of Lorton offers visitors a place of sheer enchantment in which to tour lovely countryside or simply tarry enjoying the crystal clear air of the region and a pace of life far removed from the chaos of everyday life.
The area offers a good choice of accommodation and there is the added bonus of the close proximity of St. Bees Head Heritage Coast, Whitehaven and the old fishing village of St. Maryport.
William Wordsworth, composed in 1803
There is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! - a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! - and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling and inveterately convolved, -
Nor uniformed with Phantasy, and looks
That threaten the prophane; -a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially - beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked
With unrejoicing berries, ghostly Shapes
May meet at noontide - Fear and trembling Hope,
Silence and Foresight - Death and the Skeleton
And Time the Shadow, - there to celebrate,
As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.
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in the county of Cumbria(3.4 miles, 5.4 km, direction S)
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in the county of Cumbria(6.2 miles, 10.0 km, direction S)
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in the county of Cumbria(8.8 miles, 14.1 km, direction SE)
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