Bala Lake, Wales, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - Wales - North Wales -

Also known as:  Llyn Tegid

Bala Lake is nestled in the gentle rolling hills of North Wales and has stunning mountains resting in the background. The lake, called Llyn Tegid in Welsh, means Lake of Serenity, and Bala Lake’s beauty leaves its admirers feeling peaceful and rested. Bala Lake is a natural lake that was formed by melting glaciers.

The River Dee enters and exits Bala Lake, and both the river and lake are part of the River Dee Regulation System. Controlling the flow of the Dee River dates back to the early 19th century, when Thomas Telford constructed sluice gates at the outlet of Bala Lake to help support the flow of the Llangollen Canal, which was part of the Shoropshire Union Canal System. Llangollen Canal provided a way to transport goods across England and Wales. The 41-mile canal is now used for pleasure cruises that can take three or more days to travel from one end to the next. The original sluices on Bala Lake where bypassed in the 1950s, with new sluice gates constructed downstream from the lake exit at the confluence with the Afon Tryweryn River, thereby providing additional storage capacity. The River Dee Regulation System provides a continuous flow of water during the dry summer season and reduces flooding downstream in the Dee Valley during periods of heavy rain.

Bala Lake is rich in history and legend. The crystal clear waters of Bala Lake reflect the shoreline like a mirror image, and on bright moonlit nights it has been said that ancient ruins can be seen in the depths of the water. The towers and old buildings are believed to be the palace of King Tegid, who was the husband of Ceridwen, the mother of the famous poet of the Welsh language, Welsh bard Taliesin. Legend reports that Bala Lake was formed as a punishment of Tegid Foel (Tegid the Bald): One night while Prince Tegid and his companions made merry in Tegid’s mansion, all were drowned after the guards overlooked replacing a cover over a magic well that continually brought forth water. And to this day locals will tell visitors about a lake monster whom they believe inhabits Bala Lake. Not as well known as Nessie in Loch Ness, Bala Lake’s monster is affectionately called Teggie by the locals, and reports of sightings have been around since the 1920s.

A prevailing southwesterly wind blows through Bala Lake, making it the ideal lake for sailing and wind surfing. Other activities on Bala Lake include canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing. Anglers cast in their lines for European perch, pike, roach, grayling, trout and eel. Bed and breakfast, self-catering cottage rentals, and quaint hotels offer overnight accommodations around Bala Lake and provide lakeside views to awaken each morning. Other activities near Bala Lake include a riding steam trains on a narrow-gauge railway and whitewater rafting on the man-made lake called Llyn Celyn. Sightseers may also want to tour the town of Bala to see beautiful Georgian and Victorian homes, old Churches and the town castle.

Bala Lake and the surrounding lands are part of a protected wildlife site, located in the Snowdonia National Park, partly due to the presence of a rare European whitefish, called gwyniad fish, found only in Bala Lake. The gwyniad found in Bala Lake today are believed to be a spawn of the gwyniad fish that survived the end of the last Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago. The water quality of Bala Lake is slowing deteriorating, and efforts have been made to try to protect this old and special species of fish. Also, the introduction of a small aggressive fish called the ruffe in the 1980s has also affected the population of the gwyniad. The ruffe fish gather around the gwyniad spawning area and eat the eggs and young fish. Conservation of the gwyniad is a project of the Environment Agency Wales, Gwynedd County Council, Countryside Council for Wales and the Snowdonia National Park.

The Snowdonia National Park covers 838 square miles and is the second largest and second oldest National Park in England and Wales. Rugged highlands, beautiful green valleys, aged castles and quaint villages beacon tourists from all over the world. Bala Lake resides in the east of Snowdonia National Park and is the perfect starting point for a relaxing vacation or a perfect holiday.

Things to do at Bala Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Wind Surfing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Bala Lake

  • Eel
  • Grayling
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Bala Lake Photo Gallery

Bala Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Environment Agency Wales

Surface Area: 1,023 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 522 feet

Average Depth: 78 feet

Maximum Depth: 137 feet

Water Volume: 71,343 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 101 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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