Wast Water or Wastwater is a lake situated in the Lake District National Park, in Cumbria, England. The lake is roughly 4.6 kilometres (about 3 miles) long and 600 metres (more than a third of a mile) wide, and is situated in the Wasdale valley. It is the deepest lake in England, at 79 metres (258 feet), and is in the ownership of the National Trust.
It is a fine example of a glacially ‘over-deepened’ valley. The surface of the lake is around 200 feet above sea level, while its bottom is in excess of 50 feet below sea level.
The name of the lake and surrounding valley is pronounced as in was, not with a hard a. The lake is called “Wast Water” on Ordnance Survey maps, but the spelling “Wastwater” is used with roughly equal frequency, including by its owner, the National Trust, as well as the Cumbria Tourist Board and the Lake District National Park Authority.
The steep slopes of the south-east side of the lake, leading up to the peaks of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, are known as the “Wastwater Screes” or on some maps as “The Screes”. These screes were formed as a result of ice and weathering erosion on the rocks of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, that form the fells to the east of the lake, in the direction of Eskdale. They are approximately 2,000 feet, from summit to base, the base being roughly 200 feet below the surface of the lake.
The head of the Wasdale valley is surrounded by some of the highest mountain peaks in England, including Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Lingmell.
Wast Water is the source of the River Irt which discharges into the Irish Sea near Ravenglass.
A popular path runs along the length of the lake, through the boulders and scree fall at the base of the craggy fell-side. On the north-western side can be found the cliffs of Buckbarrow, a part of Seatallan, and the upturned-boat shape of Yewbarrow.
In 2007 Wast Water was voted Britain’s Favourite view by TV Channel ITV.
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