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Lake Windermere, Cumbria

Lake Windermere
Situated in the county of Cumbria, Lake Windermere is England's largest natural lake at 10.5 miles long and one mile wide at the broadest point at Millerground. It has a total area of 5.7 square miles and reaches a depth of around 220 feet. It lies 130 feet above sea level. There are 18 islands within the lake.

It is located within the Lake District National Park and stretches from Newby Bridge to Ambleside . The rivers Brathay, Rothay, Trout Beck, Cunsey Beck and several other lesser streams feed the lake which is drained from its southernmost point by the River Leven. The lake and its environs are rich in wildlife.

Two towns sit on the edge of the lake, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere . The town of Windermere itself does not actually touch the lake and is about a fifteen-minute walk from the lakefront. The town of Windermere was known as Birthwaite prior to the arrival of the railway and has now merged together with Bowness. Windermere's railway station is the area's transport hub with train and bus connections to the surrounding areas, including Manchester, Manchester Airport, and the West Coast Main Line.

It has been a popular tourist destination since the Kendal and Windermere Railway opened a branch line to the lake in 1847. Wealthy Lancashire businessmen then started to build mansions on the hills overlooking the lake. Many of these are now converted into hotels to help accommodate the large number of visitors that flock to the lake and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it.

Naturally, such a large expanse of water means that boating is one of the lake's principle attractions. Private motor boats, yachts, ferries and day trip boats all ply the waters of the lake. However, while the lake has been a favourite location for speedboats and water-skiing for many years, it now has speed limits in place. The upper speed limit is 10 knots or 12 mph.

There were no speed limits in place when, on Friday 13 June 1930, Sir Henry Segrave broke the world water speed record on Windermere. His boat, Miss England II recorded an average speed of 98.76 mph. Tragically, on a third pass the boat capsized and Segrave's mechanic Victor Helliwell drowned. Segrave himself was rescued but later died of his injuries.

Ambleside , half a mile north from the lake, is rich in tea shops, restaurants and walking equipment shops. Waterhead, with its cafes and a garden centre, is located at the north end of Windermere and provides a picturesque stop for the cruisers. A Victorian house on the lakeside at Brockhole has been converted into The Lake District Visitor Centre . It features gardens, a shop, a cafe, an adventure playground and exhibitions about the National Park.

Ferry Nab on the eastern shore is where the car ferry departs for Ferry House. Fell Foot , belonging to the National Trust, is a popular place for those visiting the lake's shore. At the foot of the lake is Lakeside which has a hotel and the Aquarium of the Lakes. It also serves as the terminus of a steam railway. Newby Bridge, with its with hotels and cottages, lies at the far southern end of Windermere.

More British Natural features?

Other Cumbria Naturals

Scafell Pike
Helvellyn
River Eden
Derwent Water
Ullswater
Bassenthwaite Lake
Solway Coast
North Pennines
Solway Firth
Coniston Water
Wastwater
Arnside and Silverdale
ScaFell
Borrowdale
Buttermere
Aira Force
Duddon Valley
Barrow Island
Walney Island
River Wampool
River Ehen
River Duddon
River Lune
River Cocker
River Esk

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Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do. - Thomas Carlyle
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On this day:
Saxon King Edmund martyred by the Vikings - 0869, Battle of Quiberon Bay - 1759, Nuremberg Trials begin - 1945, Snowdonia designated a National Park - 1951, Windsor Castle is damaged by fire - 1992, Diana Admits Adultery - 1995, Judith Keppel Who wants to be a Millionaire Winner - 2000
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