Blue Green Algae in the Lake District

Swimmers at Fell Foot, Windermere

Nothing quite beats dipping your toes in the lakes here. But please be aware of Blue Green Algae.

Blue Green Algae naturally occurs in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms can form when their numbers become excessive, often in hot weather conditions. Once algal numbers are high, the blooms are likely to persist throughout the season, declining only on the onset of winter conditions. 

We’re advised of Blue Green Algae blooms by the Environment Agency and if they are present – we’ll put notices up in those areas straight away.

During 2018 and 2019 the Environment Agency notified us of Blue Green Algae blooms in Windermere, Ullswater and Derwent Water. When we get those notifications we put up signs at key access points to the lakes to keep people informed, and we keep the signs in place until the Environment Agency tell us that the bloom has cleared.

In Derwent Water prolonged dry weather and high water temperatures in summer 2018 combined with recent higher than average winter water temperatures and recovering lake level, enabled the algae to persist longer than normal. Please look out for signs along this lake.

During the blooming stage Blue Green Algae becomes toxic to people, but particularly to animals. Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, but you can’t tell just by looking at them, so it’s best to assume they are.

Due to the turbidity of the water in some of the Lakes here from boats and wind, the blooms can appear and disperse quickly, but are unpredictable in nature. If you notice anything that looks like a bloom, please report it to the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 80 70 60 which is open 24/7.

Take a look at the Lake District National Park's website to find out more about Blue Green Algae, the Environment Agency's blog, and refer to the government's advice on what to do if you spot it in a lake, river or the sea.

Dog swimming in river

Keep your dog safe and well if bluegreen algae is blooming

Dogs are vulnerable to bluegreen algae toxins because they lick their fur clean. The toxins are mainly harmful if ingested. 1 - check the water, if you see a bluegreen film don't let your dog swim. 2 - check your dog when they come out of the water, if there's algae on their fur, wash them clean don't let them lick themselves 3 - if your dog shows signs of being unwell, take them to the vet