Hackfall, Landscape Inspiration for Artists

Extension Activity - Farewell to Hackfall

The excerpt below is from 'Fragments of an English Tour' written by William Beckford in September 1779.  An extension activity can be downloaded, inviting students to explore a much longer excerpt in detail and think about the language used, compare it to modern vocabulary or select passages that might inspire them to paint a picture or write a story.

I clambered up a rugged eminence amongst clusters of fern and having attained its summit walked along this wild terrace which overlooks all the mazes of the woods and the windings of the river till I came to a spot darkly shaded by oaks overgrown with ivy and misletoe, strewed with dry leaves and so strangely hemmed in by mis-shapen roots that I could not help thinking I was entering the domain of a wizard.

The rustling of my footsteps amongst decayed leaves disturbed the devotions of a solemn owl (perhaps the Wizard himself) who sat moping in the hollow of an Oak.

He opened a very suspicious eye upon my approach and sailing away over the vale beneath hid himself in the distant solitudes.

I pursued my rout without meeting with any further indications of sorcery and reaching the extremity of the groves got into the carriage which waited there and was driven to Studley Park.

(William Beckford in his Fragments of an English Tour, 1779.)

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