Derwentwater, England, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - England - England's Northwest -

Also known as:  Derwent Water, Derwentwater Lake, The Lake District

Cumbria, in northwest England, is home to Lake District National Park, established in 1951. All of the land in England that exceeds an elevation of 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) can be found in this national park, which is the country’s largest. Derwentwater, also sometimes called Derwent Water or Derwentwater Lake, is the third largest lake in England’s Lake District. This natural freshwater lake may not be the biggest, but it’s the widest of the district lakes and some claim that its natural beauty is second to none. Windermere is the biggest Lake District body of water, but Derwentwater is 30 percent wider; and Derwentwater is twice as wide as Ullswater.

Mountains cradle Derwentwater on three sides: to the north are the Skiddaw mountains, to the west are the Newlands and to the south are the Borrowdales. Derwentwater has a shoreline length of 9.6 miles (15.4 kilometers) and is surrounded by forested hillsides. It has a surface area of 1,285 acres (5.2 square kilometers) and rests at an elevation of 245 feet (74.6 meters) above sea level. Derwentwater has been designated a Site of Scientific Interest in the United Kingdom. Its lands and waters are afforded protection due to the unique habitats that exist in the area. Four species of the fish known as vendace were once known and populous; only one species remains, according to scientists, and the only natural habitat of that single species is Derwentwater. Wetlands close to the lake are home to sandpipers and other water birds; the red squirrel is also present in the area.

The River Derwent feeds Derwentwater from the south and exits at its northwest corner. The lake’s largest marina is located at the northwestern foot. To the west is Crummock Water, to the southwest is Buttermere, to the east is Ullswater and to the north is Bassenthwaite Lake; Derwentwater is centrally located in this northern Lake District area. Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake may seem to be located fairly far apart when viewed on a map, but they are essentially one large lake that is divided in two by the presence of a low-level alluvial plain. The two lakes seem quite distinct–until the occasional flood connects them into their true identity of one body of water.

On the northeastern side of Derwentwater, situated about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from lakeside, is the area’s hub of tourism and activity. The town of Keswick is filled with restaurants that serve regional fare, as well as specialty establishments that feature Italian, Thai, Mexican, Chinese and Mediterranean foods. Coffee bars and tearooms are popular, as are bakeries, delis and other take-out food shops for those who enjoy light meals lakeside or plan to picnic during their stay. Shops and boutiques feature locally made arts, crafts, and clothing. There is a great choice of cultural activity as well, with parks, museums, theatres and other opportunities for recreation and entertainment. For those who are interested in this particular pop culture phenomenon, the Bond Museum is a beloved attraction. This shrine to Ian Fleming’s famous fictional English spy, James Bond, displays props from many of the most famous and well-loved movies, which are based on Fleming’s books and stories. Movies on view are part of this museum’s draw, as are the displays of the unique vehicles that were created specifically for Bond films.

Two parks in Keswick are of note: Hope Park is a serene location that features manicured lawns to promote golf activities on site. The well-kept blooming flower gardens are beautiful in their own right, but they become more meaningful when it’s known that they were once the personal gardens of the former owners, the Hopes, who entrusted the park to Keswick in 1974. Fife Park is a more activity-based gathering spot. It is located a short walk from downtown Keswick and is considered to be one of the most popular urban parks. Much of the park lies on the Derwent River, but the 28-plus acres allow many forms of recreation to happen there. From bowling and tennis and cricket to the new children’s play area that just debuted in 2010, there are formal games areas in the upper part of the park and more wide-open play spaces in the lower areas. On the grounds are an art galley and museum, built during the Victorian era. These are functional and being maintained to showcase the park’s history. Renovations are underway, and additional greening is planned through tree-planting efforts.

The area around Derwentwater is a favorite for sports-minded travelers. Recreational walking is very popular here and can accommodate most anyone interested in a trek–from short level-terrain walks to challenging mountain climbs. Trails exist in a large network, and they meander from lakeside to deciduous forest to hilly summit and back again. Cats Bells is a challenging climb to the west of Keswick; Walla Crag is 4.5-mile (7.2-kilometer) walk that moves through many elevations but can be done by most generally fit travelers.

Water sports are always an attraction for lakes this lovely. Derwentwater, at 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) long and 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide, as well as 72 feet (22 meters) deep, is a haven for boating of all kinds–sailing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, ghyll scrambling, motor boating, paddle boating and more. Swimming is enjoyed, and campsites and caravanning locations dot the perimeter of the lake. For those who want a more relaxing holiday, lake cruises are available, and there are several marinas and ferry locations around Derwentwater that offer passenger service. Derwentwater contains 17 islands, several of which are fairly large at four to six acres, including Lord’s Island, Vicar’s Island, Rampsholme and St. Herbert’s Island. Derwent Island has an inhabited residence that was built in the Italianate style in the 18th century. This home dominates the island and is the property of the National Trust; for several days each year the unique structure is open to public tours.

From sprawling renovated private homes that have been modernized with today’s conveniences to small one-person efficiency apartments to self-catering cottages and country homes, vacationers will find a wide array of lodging options for their stay near Derwentwater. Bed and breakfasts are available, as are hotels and guesthouses, resorts and spas, inns, hostels and more. Other draws to the area include local breweries that offer tours, annual summer beer festivals, the Keswick Mountain Festival, usually occurring in May, which features five days of outdoor recreation, including a triathlon, conservation workshops, photography classes, orienteering and navigation lessons and opportunities to listen to expert speakers. Another stop to add to any tour of the area includes the Castlerigg Stone Circle. This 4,000- to 5,000-year-old structure is thought to be one of the oldest stone circles in all of Europe; it makes a strong visual impact with its circular ring of 40 standing stones, some of which are more than 10 feet (3 meters) in height.

Things to do at Derwentwater

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Derwentwater

  • Vendace

Derwentwater Photo Gallery

  • Derwent Water and Causey Pike at Sunset ca. 2002 Lake District, England, UK

Derwentwater Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,285 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 245 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 244 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 251 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 72 feet

Water Volume: 23,511 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 55 days

Lake Area-Population: 5,100

Drainage Area: 32 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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