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The Coleridge Way

Febbraio 2010
Immerso nel verde del Somerset, un itinerario da percorrere a piedi o in bici sulle tracce del più famoso poeta romantico inglese.

di John Rigg

File audio:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Speaker: Rachel Roberts Standard British accent

Coleridge Way in Somerset gives visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of one of England’s greatest poets: Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The footpath takes walkers 60 kilometres across the magnificent countryside that inspired the poet’s greatest work.

THE RURAL LIFE

Coleridge came to Somerset in 1797 with his wife and newborn son. He wanted to live a simple life, grow food for his family and write poetry. They lived in the village of Nether Stowey at the foot of the Quantock Hills. This cottage is now the starting point of the Coleridge Way, and the cottage itself is a museum dedicated to the poet. Coleridge loved walking through the countryside and the Coleridge Way, marked by special signs in the shape of a quill, follows in his path.

WITH WORDSWORTH

In 1798 Wordsworth visited Coleridge. He decided to move to the nearby village of Alfoxton. This is the second village on the route. Visitors can stay at the house Wordsworth rented, which is now called the Alfoxton Park Hotel. Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote the first poems of their Lyrical Ballads here – poems that inspired the Romantic Movement in England. Coleridge’s most famous contribution to the ballads, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, was written at Watchet. A statue of the Mariner now stands there, looking across the harbour.
The Coleridge Way takes most people four to five days; luckily, there are many characteristic cottages and farmhouses where visitors can spend a night. Don’t miss the wooden footbridge near Monksilver.  A notice instructs travellers to cross the bridge with a coin on their open hand and to leave it on the pillar at the other side. Coleridge wrote the opium-inspired poem Kubla Khan at a farm near Pollock, the coastal village at the end of the path.

THE AGE OF STEAM

West Somerset Railway’s romantic steam engines offer a more relaxing way to explore the Somerset countryside. Their trains travel daily from Minehead to Taunton through some of the county’s most beautiful scenery. The company also offers courses on how to drive a steam engine. Learners, however, have no time to relax: they must shovel coal into the engine’s fiery furnace. But they can blow the train’s whistle!


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Glossary

to follow in the footsteps - seguire le orme.

footpath - sentiero.

newborn son - figlio neonato.

grow food - coltivare cibo.

quill - penna d’oca.

on the route - sul percorso.

rented - che affittava.

the wooden footbridge - il ponte di legno.

coin - moneta.

pillar - pilastro.

steam engines - locomotive a vapore.

they must shovel coal into the en-gine’s fiery furnace - devono gettare badilate di carbone nella caldaia rovente.

they can blow the train’s whistle - possono usare il fischietto del treno.