Ennerdale Water

photo by MatthewBlack

Ennerdale Water is the most westerly lake in the Lake District national park in Cumbria. It is a glacial lake, at its deepest only 150ft (45m), and has a width between half a mile to a mile (700-1500m) and two and a half miles (3.9km) long, making it one of the smaller lakes in the Park. It is situated near to the port of Whitehaven the town of Cleator Moor and also the village of Cleator. The lake is under the ownersip and care of United Utilities and acts as both a reservoir, serving over 30,000 customers daily and a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its lakeshore habitats.

Ennerdale Water is used by hikers, tourists and cyclists, but tends not to be as popular as other lakes in the National Park, and thus it has not been spoiled by construction, activity on the lake or any other trappings of intensive tourism. This is predominantly due to the Ennerdale valley’s remote location, the lack of a public road up the valley and management by the Forestry Commission, National Trust and United Utilities. In 2003 these three landowners came together to form the Wild Ennerdale Partnership with a vision “to allow the evolution of Ennerdale as a wild valley for the benefit of people relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology”. As a result Ennerdale Water is arguably one of the more natural-looking and thus more desirable lakes within the Lake District.

The small village of Ennerdale Bridge lies westwards of the lake. Containing little more than a shop, a couple of pubs and few houses, it is a typifies small Cumbrian villages. During the last week in August the Ennerdale Show brings local people together with agricultural displays, competitions, arts and crafts for this annual event.

The lake itself lies nestled in a valley (also known as Ennerdale) surrounded by a large range of fells including some of the highest and most well known peaks in Cumbria such as Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth, High Crag, Steeple and Pillar.
The level of the lake has been artificially raised by the construction of a weir, enabling it to be used as a reservoir for Whitehaven.

Fed by the River Liza and other streams Ennerdale Water in turn feeds the River Ehen which runs to the Irish Sea.
The lake in Ennerdale has been referred to variously in guidebooks and maps as “Brodewater” in 1576, “Brodwater” in 1695, “Broad Water” in 1760, “Ennerdale Water” in 1784 and latterly “Ennerdale Lake” in Otley’s Guide of 1823. It is now the Ordnance Survey decision to name it “Ennerdale Water”.

Even though the Lake District is a popular UK location for film making, Ennerdale has been left relatively in the shadows, with a few brief exceptions. The closing sequences of the movie 28 Days Later, made in 2002 and directed by Danny Boyle, were filmed around the Ennerdale area, and included sweeping panoramic views of the lake.

In 1810, a large, mysterious carnivore killed hundreds of sheep in and around Ennerdale Water before it was eventually hunted down and killed. The locals dubbed it the Girt Dog of Ennerdale, though it is worth noting that it bore the traits of both a dog and a large cat.

Source: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence