Recovering from the flood

On Saturday 5 December, the rivers Cocker and Derwent, which flow through Cockermouth, burst their banks and flooded the town centre, including Wordsworth House and Garden.

By Monday morning, most of the water – which had been up to five-feet deep – was gone, leaving behind a sea of mud and silt.

As in 2009, the last time Cockermouth was badly flooded, the house itself was largely unscathed. However, the shop, reception area and cellars were inundated, and we had a great deal of cleaning up and drying out to do. Thankfully, we’re now moving on to the refitting stage.

Our beautiful heritage garden, where William learned his love of nature, was particularly badly hit.

Wordsworth House's flood ravaged back garden last December
The flood ravaged back garden at Wordsworth House

Head gardener Amanda Thackeray said: “Sadly, the damage to William’s childhood garden looks to be worse than in 2009, even though the water level was lower. Although, this time, it didn’t bring down any walls or the terrace where William and his sister Dorothy loved to play, we’re expecting to lose more of our heritage plants.

“This is because the mud left behind is much thicker than it was six years ago, meaning many more plants are likely to die from suffocation. We’re also expecting a lot more rain, which will stress them further when they’re vulnerable.”

The kitchen garden at Wordsworth House is filled with heritage varieties
The heritage garden at Wordsworth House

Amanda continued: “As in 2009, our insurance won’t cover the loss of our heritage plants, so we face a substantial bill for replanting.”

Despite the continuing hard work, we will reopen as planned on Saturday 12 March. In the meantime, if you would like to help us by donating towards the cost of replacement plants, please email us.

You can find up-to-date information about the aftermath of the floods across the rest of the Lake District here.

Thank you for your support – we look forward to welcoming you soon to a restored Wordsworth House and Garden.