Thirlmere by Graeme DougalThirlmere as we see it today is not a natural lake; it is a 3½ mile long 158 feet deep and one mile wide reservoir. It and its dam were created in 1894 from two smaller existing lakes to serve as a water supply for the city of Manchester. Thirlmere means ‘the lake with a gap’ and probably refers to the time when the two lakes existed with a narrow land gap between. At the time a wooden bridge spanned the lakes at the spot.

Thirlmere Lake Deergarth Howe Island by Graeme DougalIn creating the reservoir, the cottages and inn of the village of Wythburn were drowned along with the surrounding farms and the hamlet of Armboth. Only the church remains to remind us of the former human settlement in the area.

Picnic areas provide spots for family outings. Fishing for trout is allowed in the lake. The area around the lake offers walking trails, and car parks are located at the church and along the roads that skirt the reservoir. There is a walk along the western shore of the lake that leads through broad leaved woods to the shore and to a number of nature trails.

Thirlmere road across dam by Graeme DougalTwo paths lead upward. One goes from the west side of Thirlmere at Dob Gill near the south end of reservoir and passes through the plantations around Harrop Tarn, later descending to Watendlath by way of Blea Tarn. The other path leaves the west side of Thirlmere near the north end of the reservoir and heads across the moorland of High Tove to its summit , later descending to Watendlath.

Thirlmere rainbow by Graeme DougalThe surrounding countryside, looking up to Helvellyn (3118 ft) and the Wythburn Fells, is noted for its scenic beauty. From the summits of Helvellyn and Blencartha there are views of the lake.

Thirlmere, in central Lakeland, is devoid of human habitation and visitor facilities. It's a peaceful, quiet spot to get away from it all.

Thirlmere is just west of the A591 north of Grasmere.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal

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