Bassenthwaite Lake

5 mins read
Image Source: Vivienne Crow

Amongst the largest lakes in the National Park

Bassenthwaite Lake, known locally as Bass Lake, lies to the north of Keswick. At four miles long and about three-quarters of a mile across at its widest, it is one of the National Park’s largest lakes. To the east, it is flanked by Skiddaw’s steep, scree-covered slopes. The dark forests of Whinlatter rise up to the west.

Permits required for use of the lake

Sailors and paddlers are allowed to launch their boats on the lake, but first have to get a permit from the Tourist Information Centre in Keswick’s Moot Hall. Fishing permits are also available here. Anglers can expect to catch pike, roach, brown trout and eels.

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club

Bassenthwaite Sailing Club is at the northern end of the lake, at Dubwath. Privately run, only club members or members of Royal Yachting Association-affiliated clubs, can use its facilities or launch from its grounds.     

Walking the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake

For walkers, a lakeside path along much of the western shore runs parallel with the busy A66. Public access to the eastern shore, where farmland runs right down to the water’s edge in places, is limited.  Since 2001, trees along the lakeshore have become the summer home to ospreys. In the early part of the twentieth century Ospreys became extinct in the UK. They slowly started recolonising in the late 1950s. Having spent the winter in Africa, these huge, fish-eating birds of prey typically return to the area in April and stay until the end of the summer. They can be seen from staffed viewing platforms in Dodd Wood. The platforms are equipped with telescopes.

The Village of Bassenthwaite

The quaint village of Bassenthwaite lies a stone’s throw away from the lake. This village, is steeped in history and charm. A pastoral village which is characterised by its traditional English charm. Bassenthwaite boasts a peaceful agricultural community with just a single pub, The Pheasant Inn and a primary school. The village is surrounded by grand houses and historical landmarks like Bassenfell Manor and Armathwaite Hall, a Victorian Tudor mansion now operating as a hotel. Nearby attractions include The Lake DIstrict Wild Life Park and Mirehouse, a historic house with beautiful gardens, adventure playgrounds, and literary connections. The village is also home to the ancient church of St. Bega and the more modern St John’s Church.

Nearby, the Lakes Distillery adds a unique flavour to the region. As a renowned producer of fine spirits, it offers tours and tastings, making it a popular destination for visitors. The distillery, set against the backdrop of the lake, beautifully integrates the region’s natural resources into its products.

Rich Ecosystem of Bassenthwaite Lake

Within this scenic landscape is the Bassenthwaite Lake Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The reserve, known for its rich biodiversity, is home to an array of species, including rare birds and diverse plant life. It’s a place where the harmony between humans and nature is beautifully evident, offering tranquil walks and educational experiences.

The area around Bassenthwaite Lake is a treasure trove of fauna. The region teems with life from the reed beds that fringe parts of the lake to the higher grounds surrounding it. The lake is the only body of water in the Lake District classified as a lake, not a mere or water, highlighting its unique status. At the visitor centre, located strategically for the best views of the lake, guests can learn about the rich ecosystem of the area and the conservation efforts in place to preserve its natural beauty. The water in the lake reflects the pristine environment of the Lake District.