Lakes and Rivers

A view of Derwentwater looking North at Barrow Bay © Joe Cornish

A view of Derwentwater looking North at Barrow Bay

Feel free to get wet

Derwentwater is an exceptionally important area for wildlife. It has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it is a clean, naturally nutrient-poor lake with excellent vegetation.

The lake supports the healthiest remaining population of Britain’s rarest fish, the Vendace (the only other natural population in Britain is just downstream in Bassenthwaite Lake).

The surrounding wetlands are important for breeding birds – most days you should be able to catch a glimpse of Common Sandpiper or Snipe, in amongst a beautiful variety of plants such as Bog Asphodel and Cotton Grass. The sheltered bays are valuable for wintering wildfowl. Red squirrels are often seen in the surrounding woodlands and if you're very lucky, you may see an otter.

  • The islands

    Derwentwater has four permanent islands: Derwent, Lord's, Rampsholme and St. Herbert's - and reputedly one 'floating' island which sporadically appears towards the end of summer. It consisting of a mass of vegetable matter that rises to the surface on a cushion of methane gas.

  • The foreshore

    The first port of call for many visitors to the Lake District, the foreshore is a stretch of the northern shore of Derwentwater, close to the town of Keswick. It's a beauty spot  enjoyed by local people and holidaymakers alike.

  • Aquativities

    Whether you want to land a boat or a fish, swim for miles or simply dip your toes in the water, here you'll find all you need to know.