Bassenthwaite Lake is the most northerly of Cumbria’s lakes, a National Nature Reserve, with more than 70 varieties of birds breeding on and around its waters. In 2001 a pair of ospreys settled and successfully bred in Wythop Woods on the west side of the lake and for some years the birds have returned - later to Dodd Wood - after spending the winter in west Africa (

Power boats and cruise boats are banned and a permit is required for canoeing, windsurfing, sailing and angling. A couple of lay-bys on the A66 offer the chance to walk down to the water’s edge although much of the land around the lake is privately owned. 

At its northern end is The Lakes Distillery while on the east side is the historic home of Mirehouse. Further east again is a land known as the Back o’ Skiddaw, much of it in the Lake District National Park.

To the south west of Bassenthwaite Lake is Whinlatter Forest, a great place for outdoor adventure. Then there’s Newlands Valley, ringed by glorious fells and less than three miles (4.8km) from Keswick, considerably longer in terms of the crowds. 



Bassenthwaite website:

Caldbeck website:

Northern Fells Group website:

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