Lakes and tarns
Did you know, there is technically only one Lake in the Lake District?!
The other 15 are either Meres or Waters... that being said, the Lake District is called the Lake District for a reason- This is a landscape created and fed by water; dotted with large and small bodies of water, wherever you look. Here are just a few of our favourite Lakes, Meres, Waters and Tarns.
Waterfalls in the Lake District
The Lake District has an astoundingly interesting geologic history. Initially formed by volcanic eruptions and tectonic action 450 million years ago, the area surrounding dale head hall was then carved by the movement of glaciers in the last ice age, leaving a terrain of many different rock types, dotted with lakes, tarns and waterfalls.
Aira Force is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in the Lake District. Located just a short walk from Aira Force car park on the shores of Ullswater, this 65 foot, powerful fall tumbles to it basin surrounded by beautiful woodland.
Get the boat across from Glenridding to start your walk, then a stroll back from the falls through Glencoyne Park, taking in the surrounding fells, ancient firs and perhaps a picnic in a sunny glade. No wonder Aira Force is one of the Lake Districts favourites!
Lodore Falls-Grange in Borrowdale
Cascading down the fells from Watendlath Tarn, the Lodore Falls are a spectacular display after heavy rains (although, a mere trickle in prolonged dry spells). Visitors are able to get up-close to the falls, making for some fantastic photographic opportunities. Take care however, as the rocks surrounding the falls can be extremely slippy.
Scale Force, situated in a deep gorge on the North end of Red Pike near Crummock Water was a favorite of both William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge. It's dramatic, slender drop makes for a fantastic visual display, especially after heavy rains.
Moss Force is situated in the pass which connects the Newlands Valley to Buttermere and was admired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote "The remainder of the torrent is marked out by three great waterfalls – the lowermost apron-shaped, and though the rock down which it rushes is an inclined plane, it shoots off in such an independence of the rock as shews that its direction was given it by the force of the water from above".
Taylor Force-Seathwaite, Borrowdale Valley
Taylor Force is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Lake District, dropping an impressive 140 feet to the scattering of rocks below. The walk to the falls is almost as beautiful as the waterfall it'self, starting from Seathwaite farm carpark, and comprising of around a mile of gentle climbing and a spot of scrambling closer to the falls.
Whitewater Dash is found in Dash Beck as it descends rapidly in a series of cascades from its source on Candleseaves Bog on the north facing slopes of the upland valley between Bakestall and Great Calva. It is aptly named, as the water rushing through this tumble is often pure white. Due to the remote location a walk to Whitewater Dash is likely to be a quiet one and you will be unlucky not to have the waterfall to yourself.
The history of Thirlmere
Thirlmere was once a small, natural lake known as Leathes Water. Then in the late Victorian period, the top end of Leathes Water was dammed in order to supply the city of Manchester with water; creating the Thirlmere we know today. The water level in Thirlmere was raised several times over the last Century, eventually flooding the villages of Armboth and Wythburn; the remains of which can still be seen in periods of prolonged dry weather.
Thirlmere has far fewer tourist facilities than other big lakes in the Lake District. To keep the water uncontaminated, Thirlmere was always protected from over-use by the public; and for the purposes of water retention, many trees were planted around the Lake in the early 1900s - meaning that nowadays, Thirlmere is one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots in the Lake District. It is teeming with wildlife, including Red Squirrels; Roe Deer and many varieties of British birds. The woodland surrounding Thirlmere is some of the most well established in the Lake District.
Walking around Thirlmere
There are so many fantastic walks starting from Thirlmere, including two routes up Helvellyn. There is a path which runs all the way around the lake if you prefer a flat, woodland walk, or if you're up for more of a challenge, you can walk over the fells to Watendlath tarn via Armboth Fell and High Tove- where you will find a lovely National Trust cafe as a perfect rest stop.
Useful info about Thirlmere
The History of Derwentwater
There are so many fascinating historical aspects to Derwentwater, it's hard to know where to start. There are four fairly sized islands on Derwentwater, all with unique stories, and reasons for their individual names. The largest island is Derwent Isle, which in the 19th Century was used by German miners, who came to mine copper in the Newlands valley, to the west of Derwent Water. St Herbert's Isle was named after the 7th Century monk who inhabited a friary on the island. Lord's Island was once owned by the monks of Furness Abbey, but is now owned and managed by the National Trust, as is much of the land surrounding Derwent Water. Rampsholme Island is named because of its abundance of wild garlic (another word for it being of the Saxon origin 'Ramp').
The Market town of Keswick is a wonderful place to spend the day. Exploring the edge of the lake, or even hiring a row-boat or taking a ferry trip.
If it's ancient history your looking for; or even if you just like to take amazing pictures- Castlerigg Stone Circle is a must see! Although not as big or famous as Stonehenge, Castlerigg is widely believed to be the oldest stone circle in England. It is certainly the most beautifully located, overlooking Keswick, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells.
Walking around Derwentwater
It is possible to walk the entire circumference of Derwentwater, crossing over the walkway at the 'Jaws of Borrowdale' from either direction. Lingholme Kitchen and Gardens is a fantastic stop-off point if you fancy a spot of afternoon tea in a beautiful setting. Another popular walk from Derwentwater, is Catbells. Voted number three on ITV's 'Britain's favourite walks', you can follow a straight forward route up the fell from Lingholme Kitchen, or alternatively, begin in Keswick for a slightly longer walk. Although it is one of the lower level fells in the area, the views over Derwentwater are not to be beaten!
Useful info about Derwentwater
The History of Windermere
Windermere Town was originally a small village called Birthwaite, which only became a tourist and trading spot when the railway was extended from Kendal. Bowness-on-Windermere was a fishing village up to the 19th Century, when Victorian tourists began to visit, boarding houses and hotels soon started to appear, eventually creating the town that we see today.
Belle Isle (formerly known as Longholme), the largest of Windermere's islands was the seat of the Lord of the Manor in the 1250s and a Royalist stronghold during the civil war. A circular house was built on the island in the 1700s and sold to the Curwen family who renamed the island after their daughter, Isabella.
The famous children's novel, Swallows and Amazons, was based on a fictional lake, just before the Second World War. The fictional lake was comprised of details taken from both Windermere and Coniston Water.
Walking around Windermere
There are some wonderful, family-friendly walks near to Windermere, making it perfect for day excursions (especially followed up with a boat ride on the lake!). Orrest Head, Brant Fell and School knott are great day walks for the whole family.
Useful info about Windermere
The History of Buttermere
A favourite of Lake District hill walker and guidebook author Alfred Wainwright; Buttermere's perfect mix of Lakeland scenery has been attracting tourists for many years. The little church of St James has a plaque to Wainwright under one of its windows, facing his favourite fell- Haystacks.
It is claimed that the Cumbrians fought a guerrilla war against the Normans for almost half a century, and folklore tells of Jarl Buthar, who fought off the Norman invaders from his hidden stronghold at Buttermere. How much of this is true is unknown, but one can certainly imagine the steep mountains surrounding Buttermere to have been the perfect pace for such an Anglo-Saxon resistance.
Walking around Buttermere
The path around Buttermere is a perfect walk for families and hikers of any ability. With plenty of choices for places to stop for food, as well as prime picnic spots all around the lake, it's an extremely popular day out for visitors to the North Lakes.
If you fancy something more challenging, Wainwright's favourites; Haystacks, and Red Pike can be summited from Buttermere.
Useful info about Buttermere