(See also Windermere , Bowness-on-Windermere , Belle Isle Round House)

Windermere by Tony RichardsWindermere is England's largest lake. Over 200 feet deep and eleven miles long, it is a magnet for tourists. Wooded hillsides, mountains, and little islands (Wordsworth often rowed to them) enhance its charms.

Belle Isle (once called Great Island) is Windermere's largest island, almost dividing the lake in two. The 40 acre wooded island is the site of Belle Isle Round House, occupied until 1993. It was owned by the Curwen family of West Cumberland mining fortune.Windermere and Langdale fells from Waterhead by Tony Richards

The half-mile-wide lake was formed when the ice age's glaciers dug out the land. The river Brathay and the river Rothay supply water to Windermere. Excess water leaves the lake via the river Leven at Newby Bridge.

Windermere and the Langdale fells from Holbeck Ghyll by Tony RichardsWindermere's eastern slope is graced by Fell Foot Country Park, and just north of the town of Windermere, right on the lake, is the National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole. There is a walk along the west shore of the lake, the site of Claife Heights in the care of the National Trust. Adelaide Hill (National Trust) on the eastern side of the lake by Miller Ground landing is thought to be one of the best lake viewpoints.

Orrest Head is another viewpoint popularized by Wordsworth. He wrote of the view from here:

“I over looked the bed of Windermere,
Last a vast river, stretching in the sun
A universe of Nature's fairest forms...”

Windermere from the Youth Hostel Waterhead by Tony RichardsA ferry provides a link across the lake from Hawkshead and Sawrey to Bowness-on-Windermere. For the most compelling views, take one of the many lake tours on offer. You can also hire a boat or launch your own at Bowness-on-Windermere, Lakeside, and Waterhead.

In 1634 a terrible tragedy occurred on the lake. A ferry from Hawkshead headed for Bowness fully loaded with people returning from the Hawkshead Fair. The boat capsized and drowned 47 people.

Moon over Windermere by Tony RichardsDoreen Wallace in English Lakeland described Windermere as ten miles of silver providing a water playground in a perfect setting. Most visitors today would agree wholeheartedly with her assessment.

Windermere is located on the A592 and A591by the towns of Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere.

Photos courtesy of Tony Richards

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