Sixth form students from Benenden School for Girls and Dulwich College, a leading boys’ school, met for a weekend poetry symposium at Rydal Mount, the former home of William Wordsworth, near Ambleside.
The students were introduced to the landscape and literary heritage of the Lakes by Simon Wordsworth Bennie, the poet’s great great great great grandson, who teaches English at Benenden School in Kent, and used to teach at Dulwich in London.
Four teachers and 18 pupils spent the weekend immersing themselves in poetry – and climbing Nab Scar, the fell that towers above Rydal Mount. Their visit was the latest in a series of annual events organised by Simon Wordsworth Bennie whose family still own Rydal Mount.
The students walked the Coffin Path to Grasmere and toured Dove Cottage for an insight into the lives of the Romantic poets.
During an evening of poetry at Rydal Mount they were joined Zaffar Kunial, currently poet in residence at Dove Cottage, who recited his own poetry for the group while sitting in William Wordsworth’s own chair.
The weekend was hosted by Peter and Marian Elkington, the resident curators of Rydal Mount and Gardens which are open to the public.
Peter Elkington said: “It was delightful to see the enthusiasm of this young generation for the work of Wordsworth, and the fresh approach they brought to his poetry.
“They also enjoyed meeting Zaffar, a poet in a very different tradition.”
Zaffar was born in Birmingham but currently lives in Sheffield. He was placed third in the National Poetry Competition in 2012, and in 2013 he won a major Northern Writers Award