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Thread: Windermere, Lake

  1. #1

    Default Windermere, Lake

    Windermere is the largest natural lake in England, and is entirely within the Lake District National Park. It has been one of the country’s most popular places for holidays and summer homes since 1847, when the Kendal and Windermere Railway built a branch line to it. Since ‘mere’ means ‘lake’, referring to Windermere as ‘Lake Windermere’ is tautologous, though common

    Windermere is 10.5 miles (17 km) long stretching from Newby Bridge To Ambleside and varies from a quarter of a mile to one mile wide at Millerground (400 m to 1500 m). The lake covers an area of 14.7 sq km (5.7 sq miles). It reaches a depth of about 220 feet (65 m) near its northern end and has an elevation above sea level of 130 feet (40 m). The lake is drained from its southernmost point by the River Leven. It is replenished by the rivers Brathay, Rothay, Trout Beck, Cunsey Beck and several other lesser streams.

    There are two towns on the lake, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere. The town of Windermere, confusingly, does not directly touch the lake. Known as Birthwaite prior to the arrival of the railway, it is about a fifteen-minute walk from the lakefront, and has now grown together with Bowness. Windermere railway station is a hub for train and bus connections to the surrounding areas, Manchester, Manchester Airport, and the West Coast Main Line. The lake was originally known as Winandermere but the railway company thought this too long and called the station Windermere, which has since attached itself to both the town and the lake.

    The lake is largely surrounded by foothills of the Lake District which provide pleasant low-level walks; to the north and north-east the higher fells of central Lakeland commence.

    Windermere is one of a very few lakes in Britain which has a perceptible diurnal tide.

    Lake Windermere is a ribbon lake, which are long, narrow and finger-like. Ribbon lakes were formed thousands of years ago during the ice age through glaciation: as the glacier bulldozed through a valley (glacial trough), it met bands of harder and softer rock. Erosion (mainly through abrasion: the process of rocks simply being scraped across the bedrock) was greater at the soft rock than the hard rock and so a dip was created. When the glacier melted the lake filled with the meltwater, which was held in by moraine (rock material) deposited by the glacier. A dam can also be created by the bands of harder rock either side of the softer rock. There is usually a river at both ends of a ribbon lake.

    Natural history
    The lake has a very high percentage of its drainage area under cultivation (29.4 %), and a relatively low percentage of lake bed above 9 m in depth which is rocky (28 %). This makes Windermere a relatively rich habitat. The main fish in the lake are trout, char, pike, and perch.
    The north to south alignment of the lake, combined with its position between Morecambe Bay and the central fells, means that it forms what is essentially a migration highway. During winter months geese flying this route are a common sight.

    The Freshwater Biological Association was first established on the shore of Windermere in 1929 and much of the early definitive work on lake ecology, freshwater biology and limnology was conducted here

    Lake Monster
    Like many bodies of water around the world, Windermere is reputed to contain one or more large, unusual fish or animals (see Eachy). The Centre for Fortean Zoology claims there have been many sightings of a giant eel-like creature in the lake stretching back to the 1950s. [1].

    Popular culture
    The children's book series Swallows and Amazons is based loosely on life before World War II around a fictional lake derived from a combination of Windermere and Coniston Water.

    In the horror novel The Pike (1982) by Cliff Twemlow a 12 foot long pike in Windermere goes on a killing spree, and the consequence is a boom in the Lake's tourist trade. Two attempts have been made to film the novel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Langley Park, Co. Durham

    Default Not always as busy as at first thought

    A big lake but can provide sheltered paddling in most conditions.

    Useful Webcam for Windermere

    This web cam at the car ferry gives a very useful live idea of conditions on the lake. It is situated in the lee of the ferry landing but its view across the lake gives a good idea of wind/wave direction.

    South from Bowness:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    1hr 45mins from my work in Glasgow!!!!

    Default Launching Point / Access

    I launch from just north of Ferry Nab (on the western side of the lake)

    This is NT Land. There is a car park but if you drive past this there is more parking further on which is only feet form the lake shore (and level) allowing free and easy access.

    There is no charge to park in this area, but it is very popular during high seasons.

    Link to my Google map to show rough location of the parking zones:

    Lakeland Pete

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Rossendale, Lancs

    Default Useful Access Summary

    A useful summary of car parking, access etc can be found at

    One year olds want four meals a day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Paper...
    Two year olds want whatever is most dangerous to get to... (Then to throw it on the floor.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    nr Sheffield


    a map of Windermere, doesnt show much launching info, but certainly shows how much of the shore is private

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Barrow in Furness

    Default Swan Hotel Newby Bridge

    There's a nice put in just to the left of the Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge with do-able parking on the roadside allowing direct access to the Leven (watch out for the fish weir). This then allows a pleasant paddle up the Leven and onto the bottom of Windermere at Fell Foot Park.

    I have seen the odd person wild camping camping (river left) along this section, where I believe the land owner is likely to be the Haverthwaite Steam Railway and consequently less likely than other, more well to do local land owners to have peasants invading his property savaged by wild dogs or roughed up by sturdy labourers .

    If you do a circular trip the Swan does a good (if costly) pint.

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