Explore the area that inspired "Tintern Abbey" and the Wordsworths' travels through the Wye. Follow William and Dorothy's path, navigate through historic maps from 1770-1880, and survey the current landscape and geography in an interactive Google Map. You can even analyze how this landscape has changed over time by overlaying historical maps onto a current one.
After crossing the Severn Estuary that separates England and Wales, William and Dorothy Wordsworth made their way up the River Wye from Chepstow. The pair traveled all the way to Goodrich Castle, and at some point passed through Symonds Yat—formerly known as the New Weir. This landscape and geography surrounding Symonds Yat inspired the composition and setting for "Tintern Abbey."
"No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for me to remember this: I began it upon leaving Tintern, after crossing the Wye, and concluded it just as I was entering Bristol in the evening, after a ramble of four or five days, with my sister Not a line of it was altered by me and not any part of it was written down till I reached Bristol" (Fenwick Notes 15).
"We left Alfoxden on Monday morning, the 26th of June, stayed with Coleridge till the Monday following, then set forth on foot towards Bristol. We were at Cottle's for a week, and thence we went toward the banks of the Wye. We crossed the Severn Ferry [a/n likely via the "New Passage"], and walked ten miles further to Tintern Abbey, a very beautiful ruin on the Wye. The next morning we walked along the river through Monmouth to Goodrich Castle there slept, and returned the next day to Tintern, thence to Chepstow and from Chepstow back again in a boat to Tintern, where we slept, and thence back in a small vessel to Bristol" ( Memoirs 118-119).
Venture through a vast collection of historic maps of the area from the years 1770-1880. This time period was characterized by political, industrial, and social revolution and the rise of industry, which had a significant effect on the environment. Click the map or linked text below to view maps from this time period. On several of these maps, you can select the "view as overlay" option to superimpose the historic map onto a modern Google Map to help you trace the changes in landscape over time.
Use the zoom, scroll, and satellite features on this contemporary Google Map to tour the Wye Valley landscape that inspired the poem's composition and content