Haweswater in Drought

  • A delightful lakeside path
  • A reservoir history lesson
  • Quiet & peaceful

Haweswater is one of my favourite lakes. The views are fantastic, the path on the western shoreline one of the best in the Lakes and there is a fascinating history surrounding the drowned villages of Mardale Green and Mosedale. However my enthusiasm for Haweswater is more to do with the tranquility and peace of the Mardale Valley, rarely found in the Lakeland valleys. The quietness comes from a combination of steep mountain sides, lack of villages and hamlets and its inaccessibility.

I have heard Haweswater described as a dead lake due to the artificial raising of the lake in 1940 but for the walker this human destruction has provided a unique wilderness, epitomised by the nesting Golden Eagles in Riggondale. The western shoreline path is considerably more attractive than that on the eastern shore but I found a certain sections on the road perfectly acceptable (the road being a dead end and therefore quiet. In fact near the dam the road becomes a bit of a heaven from the unnecessarily stroppy obstructiveness of United Utilities. I always seem to visit Haweswater in drought conditions and this was no exception, the ghostly village of Mardale Green revealing itself. I do like the story that the stones of the church were used to help build the dam.

Recommend: Try and imagine what the valley was like before it was dammed in 1940. Odd.

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Haweswater map


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL5 The English Lakes North East Buy Map
Start Point: NY 507161. The small hamlet of Burnbanks is the best starting point followed by the inspired and beautiful west bank of Haweswater
Height to Climb: 319 ms (1,046 feet)
Terrain: The track on the eastern shore is intermittant but does exist till just short of the dam
Eating & Drinking: I find the Mardale Inn, 1/2 way along the west shore a rather uninspiring place, it was dead when I was there last and they were just about to shut it up on a summer's evening. Better to go to the Romany Inn at Bampton
Similar Walks Nearby: The ‘Other’ Borrowdale
Exploring the Swinside Valley
Twin Peaks of Longsleddale
Places to Stay: New Ing Lodge, Shap