Wednesday, July 23, 2014
16 Lakes of the Lake District, England
Arguably one of the most beautiful parts in all of Great Britain, the Lake District offers a retreat from the hustle-bustle of the cities. The Lake District is a scenic five hour drive from London and makes a great stopping point when traveling to Glasgow. Stay here for a night or two to soak in the sheer natural beauty of the region, or stay for a week to relax and enjoy everything that the Lake District has to offer.
The Lake District is home to many bodies of water, however only 16 of them are actually considered lakes. Here are the 16 lakes of England's Lake District.
Windermere is the largest lake in England, whose eastern shore washes up on the town of Bowness.
Set in a region that is home to contrasting vistas of gently rolling fields and dramatic mountain rises, Ullswater is a favorite with those who enjoy spectacular natural beauty.
Derwentwater Lake is very much a landscape of moods, varying from the dramatic waves splashing against Friar’s Crag when driven by southerly gales, to the absolute mirror calm of early mornings.
Bassenthwaite Lake is the most northerly of the lakes, and has no major settlements on its shores. It is often full of sailing boats from Bassenthwaite Sailing Club. There is a shore path which runs the length of the west shore, but there is no access to the east side except at Mirehouse. Here there is a small open-air theatre, built in 1974 for the reading of ‘Morte d’Arthur’ to the Tennyson society at the place where it is thought that Tennyson, who often stayed at Mirehouse, composed much of the poem. Bassenthwaite is home to the vendace, a rare and endangered fish species found only here and in Derwentwater.
At five miles long, and with a maximum depth of 184 feet, Coniston Water is the third largest of the lakes. It provided an important fish source for the monks of Furness Abbey who owned the lake and much of the surrounding land in the 13th and 14th Centuries. More recently Coniston Water was used to transport slate and ore from the many mines worked in the Coppermines Valley above Coniston village. It has three small islands, all owned by the National Trust. The elegant Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola sails between March and November. Renovated by the National Trust, its passengers can travel in opulently upholstered saloons – a superb way to appreciate the magnificent scenery. The traditional timber craft of Coniston Launch provide regular hourly sailings throughout the year to jetties around Coniston Water, including Brantwood.
Haweswater is a reservoir built in the valley of Mardale. The farming villages of Measand and Mardale Green used to populate the Mardale valley. To make way for the reservoir, all of the farms, houses and graveyard in the villages were removed. At times of drought, when the water is low, many people go back to see what is left of the village of Mardale.
Thirlmere, at 3.5 miles long, 1.2 mile wide and 158 feet deep, was originally two smaller lakes, which were purchased by Manchester City Corporation Waterworks in 1889. The area was dammed with a dam whose greatest height is 104 feet, and the area became one vast reservoir. In the process, the settlements of Armboth and Wythburn were submerged, the only remaining building being the little church at Wythburn.
Ennerdale is the most westerly of the lakes, and the most remote, so it offers, even in high season, a place to escape. It is a deep glacial lake, 2.5 miles long 3/4 mile wide and 148 feet deep. The water is exceptionally clear, and contains a variety of fish. It serves as a reservoir for the coastal towns of West Cumbria, and is the only lake that does not have a road running alongside it.
Situated in the Wasdale Valley, Wastwater is 3 miles long, half a mile wide and 260 feet deep, and the deepest of all the lakes. Wastwater is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the lakes. Surrounded by mountains, Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain. Extending the length of the south-east side of the lake are the Screes, consisting of millions of fragments of broken rock and rising from the floor of the lake to a height of almost 200 feet, giving the lake an ominous appearance.
Situated between Loweswater and Buttermere. Often overlooked by its sister lake Buttermere, Crummock Water with the mighty Grassmoor on the west and the fells of Mellbreak on the east, it has unparalleled views from either side. It is 2 1/2 miles long, 3/4 mile wide and 140 feet deep and is a clear, rocky bottomed lake flanked by steep fellsides of Skiddaw slate.
Esthwaite Water is one of the smaller and lesser known lakes in the Lake District National Park in Northern England. The lake covers around 280 acres and is known for its excellent fishing, particularly trout and pike. The lake was mentioned as the location where William Wordsworth conversed with a friend in Wordsworth's poem, "Expostulation and Reply."
Buttermere – the lake by the dairy pastures – is 1 1/2 miles long, 3/4 of a mile wide and 75 feet deep. The classic combination of lakes and mountains has made this popular with visitors since the beginning of tourism in the Lake District. A visit to Buttermere is principally for its natural attractions – as the area offers some of the best walking country in Lakeland. There is a footpath running round the perimeter of the lake, and lovely walks to the summits of Haystacks and Red Pike.
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 his favourite destination while he was staying at nearby Dove Cottage. The island is now privately owned, and visitors should not land there, tempting though it is.
Nestled in a wooded valley in the far west of the Lake District, in the Vale of Lorton, Loweswater is a peaceful lake that is often bypassed. At approximately 1 mile in length, 1/2 mile wide and 60 feet deep, it provides an excellent lake circuit for walkers. Loweswater is unique within the Lake District, as it is the only lake that drains towards the center of Lakeland – to Crummock Water which it was once joined to. Red squirrels, whose favourite habitat is coniferous, can be found in the locality.
Rydal Water is one of the smallest lakes at 3/4 mile long, 1/4 mile wide and with a depth of 55 feet, but it is very popular partly because of its Wordsworth connections. Steps lead up from the western end of the lake to ‘Wordsworth’s Seat’ – reputedly the poet’s favourite viewpoint.
Brothers Water is in the Hartsop valley and is a small lake in the eastern region of the Lake District. Once called Broad Water, it lies at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, affording picturesque views on the descent towards Patterdale. The small lake sustains a trout population and is one of four locations in the Lake District to harbour a rare species of fish, the Schelly.
Start planning your vacation to England's Lake District with Celtic Tours World Vacations