This lime-tree bower my prison...

Summer wildflowers in the garden at Coleridge Cottage, with the lime-tree bower in the background

One of the poems written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge whilst living at the Cottage was 'This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison'. It may sound elegant, but its origins were far from it.

Coleridge enjoyed a leisurely life at the Cottage, wandering the hills, writing poetry, and meeting up with friends. His young wife, Sara stayed at home and looked after baby Hartley, cooked, washed, and managed the household chores.

When William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, and fellow poet Charles Lamb came down to visit, Coleridge was looking forward to many long rambles in the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, Sara accidentally poured a pan of boiling milk on her husband's foot. The burn was so bad he could only hobble as far as the lime-tree bower in his friend Tom Poole's garden next door. It was here he was inspired to write 'This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison', where he imagines his friends on their walk in the Quantock Hills.

Today, Tom Poole's original lime-tree bower is long gone, but we have built a reconstruction based on drawings of 18th-century bowers, where you can sit and listen to the poem played on an audio post. No lime tree to hand, we instead used local wood from the Quantock Hills, and in the summer the bower is covered with sweet-smelling jasmine. A perfect spot to sit, listen, and be inspired by nature.