Situated in the Lake District, Bassenthwaite Lake is around four miles long and three quarters wide and despite the fact that it is very shallow, around 21 metres at its deepest, is still one of the largest lakes in the area.
Interestingly enough, it is the only lake in the Lake District with the word ‘lake’ in its title, the rest incorporating the words ‘mere’, ‘water’ and ‘tarn’. It drains into and is fed by the River Derwent in Cumbria. Situated close to Keswick the lake lies at the base of Skiddaw.
Maps going back to the eighteeenth century show the lake as having the name of Bassenwater and the name Broadwater has also been used in the past.
Running north/south along the western side of the lake is the A66 trunk road and the parking spaces along this road act as popular observatories for individuals keen to get sight of the bird of prey – the Osprey.
The southern section running towards Keswick was laid on top of the old railway which led to Penrith and in spite of the fact that it’s overgrown with trees, it is still possible to see the old Bassenthwaite railway station. Heading in the other direction towards Workington is the original two way road which, traffic permitting, can still be a pleasant driving experience.
In common with the other Lake District lakes, Bassenthwaite is situated in a glacially eroded valley and is connected to Derwent Water by the River Derwent. There is a school of thought which suggests that both Bassenthwaite and Derwent Water were once one larger lake wit alluvial flats seperating them formed by infill of the original basin.
The catchment area of the lake exceeds any other lake in the Lake district and together with a high amount of cutivable land ensures this is an abundantly fertile habitat.
The lake is the home of extensive varieties of fish, including salmon, trout, perch, pike, dace, roach and eels to name but a few, with the roach being the most common of these.
Bird life is extensive, including cormorants, heron and in the early part of this century ospreys returned to nest in the area and have done so ever since.
Source: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence