Home » Things to Do » Haweswater Reservoir
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Haweswater Reservoir is the most easterly lake in the Lake District. It occupies a fairly remote location, with fewer visitors than neighbouring lakes and no major settlements nearby. The peace and tranquility of this lake makes it one of our favourite to visit during a camping or caravan holiday in Cumbria. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of busier towns and enjoy some quality family time in the great outdoors.
The area offers a sense of wilderness with uninterrupted views across the surrounding landscape. There are plenty of quiet spots to sit and soak up the scenery and lots of fantastic wildlife watching opportunities nearby.
The rugged and largely untouched terrain is home to a variety of habitats allowing insects and butterflies thrive. Birdwatchers enjoy regular sightings of Peregrines, Dippers and Redstarts and memorable encounters with red squirrels and deer.
The reservoir is 4 miles long making it one of the largest lakes in the National Park. It boasts an impressive curved shape and abundance of options for walkers hoping to explore the area by foot. There are two level trails around the reservoir, which are ideal for families. There are also some strenuous hill climbs well suited to avid hikers looking for something a little more taxing.
The High Street walk via Rough Crag, is regarded as one of the finest walks in the Lake District. The route is famed for its steep but rewarding incline towards the summit of High Street Mountain (also known as Racecourse Hill), where you’ll enjoy panoramic views from the top. The steady descent is via Mardale III Bell and the old packhorse route that crosses Nan Bield Pass. It is 6 miles long and will typically take 5-6 hours to complete, depending on your pace.
Postcode: CA11 0NY
The ‘old church’ is a popular attraction that was built in 1660 on the site of an earlier chapel dating back to 1220. Once the site of a thriving community, the church stands as a fascinating ode to St Martin of Tours. It features a rectangular space and an entrance porch with glorious ancient features. The sites hosts a yew tree which is 1300 years old and a reading desk from 1634. This captivating architecture is a must visit for those interested in the region’s deep history.
Postcode: CA10 2NF
Wild Haweswater is a joint initiative founded by the RSPB and United Utilities. The rugged nature reserve occupies an extensive site towards the eastern edge of the National Park and is well worth a visit during your stay. The RSPB team host a number of interesting events throughout the year, including ‘Breakfast with Red Squirrels’. It’s possible to hire the badger and woodland wildlife hides for wildlife photography.
Please note there are no toilet or food facilities at Wild Haweswater. There is a small car park on site with a suggested donation of £2.
Postcode: CA10 2RP
The Shap Farmers’ and Makers’ Market takes place on the fourth Saturday of the month from March – November. Stalls include food, arts and crafts, plants, top quality produce, and gifts. Live music and art exhibitions also take place on The Old Courthouse terrace throughout the year.
We recommend a tour of the quaint village of Shap and exploring the nearby scenery within the Westmorland Dales.
Postcode: CA10 3NL
Haweswater Reservoir was once the highest natural lake in the region. Due to water demand increase, Manchester Corporation applied for permission to build the reservoir to supply water to a large section of north-west England. There were objections from the local population because the construction of the reservoir meant that the farming villages of Measand and Mardale Green would be flooded, and residents would have to be relocated to new homes. Locals thought that it should be left alone as it was one of the most picturesque valleys in Westmorland.
Parliament passed the bill, and in 1929, construction of the dam began. Local villages were moved out and coffins were dug up and relocated. In 1935, the valley was flooded to create the long body of water we admire today. All the farms and houses were pulled down, and Mardale church was demolished. People still visit the reservoir at times of drought with low water, to get a glimpse at what is left of the village of Mardale.
Today, Haweswater’s natural 211 metre lake has been raised another 95 feet. It stands at 1/2 wide and 200 feet deep, with a concrete dam 1550 feet wide.
Haweswater Reservoir is located around an hour’s drive from Park Cliffe, but we think the views and rich history of the reservoir make the journey well worth it! Haweswater Reservoir is located north-west of Park Cliffe in Penrith.
Here is a detailed route from Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate to Haweswater Reservoir.
Mardale Head car park: CA10 2RP
This is just one of the many beautiful lakes in the Lake District. There is plenty to do when staying at Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate.
See our ‘things to do in the Lake District‘ directory for our top pick of attractions and activities.
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