In an extract from her new book, the historian traces how her corner of Cumbria was shaped by neolithic axe makers, Wordsworth and Victorian clergy

Only later did I realise that the early years of William Wordsworth’s life, as he distilled them in his epic autobiographical poem The Prelude, had come alive again and again in my childhood Lakeland experience of adventure, excitement and tranquillity.

Mountains playing hide and seek in the clouds, sometimes hiding all day. Lakes to swim in; lambs leaping or sheep meandering; water rushing or pooling, sparkling like diamonds or mysteriously brown with peat, masking the fish. Walking in the fells I was free to join the streams without adult restraint and get soaked to the skin; infinity to climb and explore and wonders to stop still and gaze at.

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Source: Gaurdian

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