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The Word-Hoard

New Lake District exhibition, curated by Robert Macfarlane, celebrates dying Nature words
Wordsworth House, the childhood home of poet William Wordsworth

A new photography exhibition at the childhood home of Lake District poet William Wordsworth celebrates the dying dialect words for Britain’s landscape.

The Word-Hoard: Love letters to our land, at the National Trust’s Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, has been guest-curated by award-winning Nature writer Robert Macfarlane. It follows his 2015 bestseller Landmarks, which explored the regional dialect words connected to Nature, terrain and weather.

Landscape to ‘blandscape’

The exhibition brings together some of Macfarlane’s favourite dialect Nature words alongside 25 photographs of the British landscape by the author’s parents, Rosamund and John Macfarlane.

Robert Macfarlane, who teaches English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, said, ‘I spent two years gathering as many of our place-terms and nature-words as possible, from more than thirty languages and dialects around Britain and Ireland, and then releasing them back into imaginative circulation.

‘Without words, the landscape can easily become a blandscape: generalised, indifferent, unobserved.’

The words in Macfarlane’s ‘hoard’ include shreep, an East Anglian word for mist clearing slowly, and sun-scald, a Sussex word for a patch of bright sunlight on water.

The Word-Hoard will be open daily, except Friday, until 03 September, and admission is included in entry to the house and garden.

Sun-scald (patch of bright sunlight on the surface of water, Sussex)
Sun-scald (patch of bright sunlight on the surface of water, Sussex). Photograph shows Crummock Water, taken from Low Fell (Lake District). Credit: Rosamund & John Macfarlane
Shreep (Mist clearing slowly, East Anglia)
Shreep (mist clearing slowly, East-Anglia). Picture taken from Watergate lonning, beside Loweswater, looking towards Low Fell (Lake District). Rosamund & John Macfarlane.

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