Lake District North West
LAKES PAGE 4
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ENNERDALE WATER Backup
Two and half miles of crystal clear water nestled among fells and forests full of wildlife. Most of the shoreline is owned by the National Trust and the woods by the Forestry Commission. Unlike most major lakes in the Lake District, no public road runs along the shore. Cul-de-Sac roads run to Bowness Knott and the Bleach Green. Public footpaths and bridleways encircle the lake, giving access on foot to most of the shoreline and the surrounding fells. Views across and around this lake are stunning. Definitely worth a visit, and you won't be disappointed by the fact that most people pass it by! There is a car park, toilets and a picnic area here, and a choice of way-marked forest trails. A complete walk around the perimeter of the lake is a must if you have a day to spare. No boating is permitted on the lake. Fishing is permitted - information available from the Ennerdale Angling Association or North West Water who own the Lake.
Once known as Broadwater, this lake is 3 miles long, half a mile wide and 270 ft deep, the deepest of all the lakes. Access to the lake is via the A595 to Gosforth, and then turn eastwards to Netherwasdale, where the old parish church stands. It is a well known centre for climbing since the earliest days of the sport. There is the Wasdale Head Inn (formerly known as the Huntsman Inn) a popular location for climbers and tourists. Wasdale is the home of the famous Wil Ritson who was the former innkeeper of the Huntsman Inn. He was well known as a shepherd, climbers and wrestler, renowned for his wit and stories. The latter resulted in the annual "Biggest Liar in England" competition, which is still held today. It was due to Wil Ritson and his friend John Wilson, another wrestler, that the Annual Grasmere Sports became a great event in the Lake District. Rowing boats and canoes are allowed.
The artificial lake of Thirlmere is 3.5 miles long and half a mile wide, and surrounded by thick spruce woodland. Although many people call it a lake, it is actually a reservoir, because it has a 800ft long by 100ft high dam.
In 1879 it was passed in Parliament that the reservoir was to serve as the main water supply for Manchester, although there was much opposition to it. New roads were constructed around the lake, and large quantities of spruce and larch were planted over 2000 acres. Much of the landscape has remained this way, and can be seen today. Thirlmere actually had many different names, Leatheswater, Bracken Water, Brackmere, Layswater, Tirlmere and Wyborn Lake.
An old village called Wythborn was actually centered where Thirlmere is today, but was eventually dismantled and flooded to make way for the reservoir. However during drought seasons today, the evidence of this lost village can be seen.
Looking from the Southern end of the lake the mighty Helvellyn at 3,118 ft rises to the right, with a well worn path leading to the top. Helvellyn can also be accessed from Thirlspot, where the old hostelry the "King's Head" is situated. From here there is an old track which takes a walker right to the top.
The history of Thirlmere is also very vast, with stories involving battles between the Celtics and the Saxons at the top of Dunmail Raise Pass, located at the southern end of the lake. There are also connections with William and Dorothy Wordsworth, S.T. Coleridge, and Mary and Sarah Hutchinson, from which they got their many inspirations for pieces of poetry and literature. Other poets have also based their works on Thirlmere like Matthew Arnolds, during the mid eighteenth century, who used to walk the Armboth Fells, which was to be the basis for his poem "Resignation".
On the 22nd August 1749, the Thirlmere valley was battered by a severe storm, which left many of the buildings ruined and the valley bottom scattered with debris and uprooted trees. Fortunately the landscape has far recovered from this ordeal and has become one of the most treasured and secluded places in Cumbria today.
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