Drawing 7: Dora’s Field, Rydal

Direction of view: E

Notes: This looks good on a sunny afternoon in late March, when the daffodils are at their best and there are no leaves on the trees.

This scene also appears on page 359 of Westmorland Heritage.  Although Westmorland Heritage contains a vast amount of new artistic work, many of the larger drawings are reproduced from original work included in the Lakeland Sketchbooks.  That is so here: the Sketchbook drawing is reproduced at slightly reduced size in Westmorland Heritage.

Comments: I first took this picture on slide film on 6th April 1977, during the Easter holidays of my first year at University.  It was a day out with Andrew Amos and Peter Messenger, and we snapped a clutch of sketches around Wythburn (107 and 158) and Rydal (this and 234), before heading to Grasmere (350) and up Easedale (65) for a walk on the fells (209, 354 and 366).  It was an odd day, with a good deal of sun, and some heavy snow showers.

William Wordsworth owned this field, and he planned to build a house on it but, after the early death of his daughter Dora, he planted the area with daffodils in her memory. Now known as Dora’s field,  the area is renowned for its spring display of daffodils and also bluebells.

In late March 2012 I saw in the “Westmorland Gazette” that Dora’s Field was open under the National Gardens Scheme.  I had thought it was open to the public generally, but perhaps not, so I hurried up to Rydal, and paid my £3 entry.  In fact, it is open all the time, being owned by the National Trust, but the NT had agreed with the NGS to let them open it and take donations for the day.  Ah well, it was April 1st, and all to a good cause.  I noted that AW’s drawing appears to show a clock face on the tower of the church (St Mary’s, Rydal), where now there is just a circular blank space.  My 1977 picture fails to reveal whether there was a clock in situ then!  Some bushes have grown up too, but otherwise the scene is little changed.