Grasmere, at 1 mile long, half a mile wide and 75 feet deep, would be an attractive and popular tourist area even without its Wordsworth connections. ‘The most loveliest spot than man hath found’ was Wordsworth’s famous quote describing the area of Lakeland that he most loved. The small island in the middle of the lake was Wordsworth’s favourite destination while he was staying at nearby Dove Cottage. The island is owned by the National Trust, and visitors should not land there, tempting though it is.
Grasmere Island, which sits within lake Grasmere, attracted the attention of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley when it was put up for sale in 1893. Rawnsley was a great defender of the Lake District landscape and he recognised that no organisation existed to protect it from private ownership and potential development. Sir Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill had been discussing for some years the need for a national organisation which would hold lands for the public, but it was the private sale of important sites, including Grasmere Island, that sparked the course of events that led to the formation of the National Trust.