The Quantocks

The Quantock Hills in Northwest Somerset - Romantic inspiration (photo: Celia Kozlowski, Wikimedia Commons)

Between January 1797 and the Autumn of 1798, Coleridge lived in the Somerset town of Nether Stowey, situated below the North Eastern slopes of the Quantock Hills. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy also moved into the area – simply to have the benefit of Coleridge’s company.

In this brief period, the two poets formed a deep regard for each others abilities, and for Coleridge at least, it afforded the inspiration for his most remarkable poetic output – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, Christabel, Frost  at Midnight and The Nightingale. Others might also be added according to taste, but there is little dispute that this was his finest period for poetry.

Much of their time was spent wandering around the hills that face north towards the Bristol Channel, extending sometimes as far as Lynton and Lynmouth.  The Quantocks, immediately available on their doorstep – feature most prominently in these walks, and ‘Upon smooth Quantock’s airy ridge [they] roved’ often for days together.

To explore the Quantocks you can use OS Explorer – Active Map (1:25 000) Quantock Hills & Bridgwater

Or even more directly related to Coleridge is the Coleridge Way long distance footpath – a 36 mile walk in North Somerset. Details are on their website www.coleridgeway.co.uk