Brotherswater, England, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - England - England's Northwest -

Also known as:  Brothers Water, Broad Water, The Lake District

Surrounded by green fields, grazing sheep and scenic hillsides, Brotherswater is found in northwest England’s Lake District National Park. At 47 acres there is some controversy as to whether Brotherswater is one of the smallest lakes or largest tarns (mountain lake) found in the Lake District. Tucked into the Hartsop Valley and surrounded by the peaks of the Eastern Fells (mountains), Brotherswater is considered one of Lakeland’s prettiest lakes running, only 1/2 mile in length and less than 1/4 mile in width.

Located in Cumbria County, Brotherswater is one of the first places in the Lake District to be acquired by England’s National Trust. Broad Water was the original name of this glacially formed lake. At some point in the past the name was changed to Brotherswater, or Brothers Water, after two brothers tragically drowned in the lake. It is believed that the lake was once twice its current size, extending to the south toward Dovedale, a scenic valley with rushing waterfalls. Sediment flowing from mountainside tributaries may have filled over half the lake, creating the current one-mile shoreline. Brothers Water now drains into the southern end of Ullswater, a scenic lake lying three miles to the north.

Brotherswater draws anglers to it shore despite the lake’s limited access. Classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), no boats are allowed on the water, and fishing is restricted to the western shore. Brotherswater is one of only seven lakes within the United Kingdom that holds the endangered schelly fish, a member of the whitefish family. The lake also holds small populations of trout, perch and eels, and offers a pastoral scenic experience for any fisherman who wishes to cast a line in solitude.

Brothers Water has a maximum depth of 49 feet and an average depth of 24 feet. Reeds and water lilies cover much of the lake, providing habitat for the Canada goose, mallard duck and migrating birds. Brotherswater is not one of the more visited lakes, but the steep hillsides and surrounding craggy fells provide unrivalled panoramic mountain views sure to delight everyone passing this way. Looking south and southwest, three prominent peaks from the Eastern Fells fill the skyline. Hart Crag (2697 feet), Dove Crag (2598 feet) and High Hartsop Dodd (1703 feet) all offer spectacular scenery and a variety of hiking paths. Facing north, Brotherswater sits at the foot of Kirkstone Pass. At a height of 1,489 feet Kirkstone Pass is the highest pass open to motor traffic. From Brotherswater visitors catch a view of the valley of Patterdale and hills surrounding Ullswater.

Well marked paths criss-cross the fells and hills surrounding Brotherswater. Walkers can begin their treks at Cowbridge parking lot located off the northeastern shore of the lake. The two-mile trail leads south along the western shore, past working farms and medieval farm buildings. The path then loops around the southern shore where a grassy area and small beach (no swimming or camping permitted) make a pleasant picnic stop. After a peaceful respite, pick up the path as it skirts the eastern shore to the village of Hartsop before returning to Cowbridge. An old bridlepath has been paved by the National Trust and now accommodates wheelchair access to the shore of Brotherswater.

If you leave Brotherswater and continue walking two miles north, you will reach the village of Patterdale, a gathering place for extended hiking trips. One of the more popular and challenging walks is the Striding Edge path to Helvellyn. At 3,117 feet, the scenery is breathtaking but so is the challenge of climbing exposed ridges and rock towers to reach the peak. Other fells within easy reach of Patterdale and Brotherswater include Place Fell (2,156 ft.), High Street (2,718 ft), Fairfield (2,864 ft.), Saint Sunday Crag (2,759 ft.) and Glenridding Dodd (1,450 ft.).

Continuing north from Brotherswater, Ullswater lies less than a mile north of Patterdale. The setting of this lake is often compared to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, and it is said that the beauty of the lake’s daffodils inspired William Wordsworth’s poem titled “Daffodils.” With a length of nine miles and width of 3/4 miles, Ullswater is a popular recreational lake. Scuba divers, motor boats, row boats, canoes and sailboats are often seen on the water. Yacht clubs and marinas lie scattered along the shoreline with rentals ready and waiting. Always a popular attraction, steamers depart from the village of Glenridding and cruise the long lake.

Brotherswater and Ullswater are among the more popular hiking destinations in England’s northwestern region. Peaceful lake shores, rocky fells and charming villages provide limitless opportunity for exploration and adventure. When it is time for rest, hikers and visitors will find an excellent selection of campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, holiday homes, self-catering accommodations and real estate properties among local villages. The tiny village of Hatsop sits off the northeast end of Brotherswater with Patterdale and Glenridding resting off the southern end of Ullswater. Come to Brothers Water and find your holiday accommodation where the lush green valleys give way to waiting hills and rocky crags.

Things to do at Brotherswater

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Brotherswater

  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Brotherswater Photo Gallery

Brotherswater Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 47 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 515 feet

Average Depth: 24 feet

Maximum Depth: 49 feet

Water Volume: 1,216 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 21 days

Drainage Area: 5 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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