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All Aboard the Poetry Bus

To hail the reopening of Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home during his ‘golden decade’ (1799–1808), and as part of a yearlong celebration of the poet’s 250th birthday Wordsworth Grasmere and Stagecoach bring poetry to the people via the 555 and 599, on Thursday 19 March.

Bus travellers between Windermere and Keswick may be a little surprised when poets Kim Moore and Clare Shaw, climb aboard the 555 and 599 buses on Thursday 19 March. Kim and Clare will perform their own work as well as sharing some of Wordsworth’s words with passengers as they journey through the landscape that inspired some of Wordsworth’s greatest poetry – and continues to inspire poets today!

Tom Waterhouse, Operations Director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire said: “We are delighted that our 555 and 599 Lakes services will become a place of celebration for Wordsworth and his work as we welcome poets Kim and Clare on board. Our bus services connect people to the areas of natural beauty Wordsworth was so greatly fond of, including Grasmere, the place he made home. His passion for sharing the wonders of the Lakes are deeply aligned with our own, making the poetry bus a fitting tribute on such a momentous anniversary.”

William Wordsworth arrived in Grasmere aged 29, largely unknown, an impassioned, upstart poet breaking boundaries and finding his way as a writer, writing poetry that came as a shocking contrast to the fashionable verses of the time. Over two centuries later, Grasmere is still a hub of activity for boundary-breaking contemporary poets.

The poets

Kim Moore

Kim Moore’s first collection The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015) won the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She won a Northern Writers Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2010. Her pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. She regularly performs at festivals across the UK and Europe, and her work has been translated into several languages. She is currently a PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University and is working on her second collection.

Clare Shaw

Clare Shaw has three poetry collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement, ‘fierce … memorable and visceral’. Her third collection, Flood, was published in June 2018. Often addressing political and personal conflict, her poetry is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language.

The Poetry Buses schedule

  • 555 Stagecoach Bus northbound from Grasmere 9.45am to arrive in Keswick 10.14am
  • 599 Stagecoach Bus northbound from Windermere 10.39am to arrive in Grasmere at 11.13am
  • 555 Stagecoach Bus southbound from Keswick 12.30pm to arrive in Windermere at 1.33pm
  • 555 Stagecoach Bus northbound from Grasmere 12.45 to arrive in Keswick 1.14pm
  • 555 Stagecoach Bus southbound from Keswick 2.30pm to arrive in Windermere at 3.33pm
  • 599 Stagecoach Bus northbound from Windermere at 2.39pm arrive in Grasmere at 3.13pm

Reimagining Wordsworth, a yearlong celebration of the poet’s 250th birthday, will celebrate Wordsworth’s relevance today and encourage a greater appreciation for his work than ever before.

Dove Cottage, the world-famous home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth will reopen on 7 April 2020, the official anniversary of his birth, and will be followed in the summer by the reopening of the Museum. The project will mark the completion of a major capital project to transform the visitor experience across the hamlet of Town End, home to Dove Cottage and immortalised by the poet as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’.

The £6.2m transformation, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, employs world-leading specialists in the fields of architecture, heritage, conservation and interpretation to preserve the historic site and present a more authentic visitor experience. It will reopen under the new brand, ‘Wordsworth Grasmere’, celebrating the intrinsic link between the people, poetry and place, it will incorporate imagery and patterns in water and ink to reflect the act of writing and give a sense of the surrounding landscape. The colour palette will represent nature and the muted interiors of Dove Cottage and the new logo will take inspiration from Wordsworth’s passion for typesetting and print, using a specific typeface that he requested for the printed editions of his work.

To coincide with Wordsworth’s birthday celebrations in spring, Dove Cottage will reopen after an authentic restoration and the visitor experience will be transformed with newly animated spaces around the poet’s much-loved Lake District home. This will include:

  • the restoration of the cottage’s interiors, enabling visitors to step back in time to get a feeling of daily life as the Wordsworth’s would have known in 1800 and experience a humble home where extraordinary writing and thinking took place
  • a celebration of Wordsworth’s famous poetry and Dorothy’s fascinating Grasmere Journal, with a facsimile of the journal placed on display to celebrate the anniversary
  • the recreation of Wordsworth’s lovingly maintained Dove Cottage Garden Orchard and a new community sensory garden incorporating local plants and encouraging visitors to ‘be Wordsworthian’, slow down and observe nature
  • a new learning space bringing poetry to people of all ages and backgrounds through a programme of year-round events and workshops. The programme will celebrate the relationship between Wordsworth’s work and the landscape which inspired him.
  • the introduction of sound points throughout the hamlet bringing Wordsworth’s story to life through the voices of local residents
  • the recreation of Wordsworth’s moss hut, originally built as a sanctuary for creativity in the Dove Cottage garden, and an invitation to local and global lovers of the his work to recreate their own
  • a woodland space and new walking trails to mark the intrinsic link between Wordsworth’s writing and local landscape
  • a new visitor route, courtyard and Café focused on the heart of the site

Further ahead, summer 2020 will see the reopening of the Museum in time for the summer holidays. Developments will include:

  • the expansion and modernisation of the Museum to display a unique and internationally significant collection of Wordsworth’s manuscripts, books and fine art
  • the addition of new galleries exploring Wordsworth’s life, writing and ideas, and a new special exhibition space opening with a brand new exhibition to be announced in 2020
  • new interpretations of Wordsworth’s manuscripts offering visitors more interactive ways to engage with his work
  • pause spaces and a new rooftop viewing station offering visitors opportunities to stop and reflect on the stunning Grasmere landscape that inspired Wordsworth’s work
  • the inclusion of contemporary voices, including individuals, academics and Dove Cottage Young Poets, celebrating the modern-day relevance of Wordsworth’s poetry to give visitors a closer insight into his ideas and process of composition

For more information about the project please visit:

Website https://www.wordsworth.org.uk/ or https://www.stagecoach.com

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