Thirlmere was once two small lakes, Leatherswater and Brackmere, linked by a narrow bridge. In 1879 work began on building a dam at the northern end, raising the water level by some fifty four feet, resulting in a single lake measuring three and a half miles long, half a mile wide and 160 feet deep, and consigning the little hamlets of Armboth and Wythburn to the deep. The water lies just beyond Dunmail Raise, north from Grasmere heading towards Keswick, and is owned by North West Water. It is open to the public and there are parking laybys along the west shore, giving access to some nice woodland walks and lake side footpaths which are conservation areas maintained by the British Conservation Society.
Thirlmere Walking & Fishing
One of the best viewpoints is at at Hause Point on the west. You climb some metal steps up to the top of large rock, complete with garden seat, where you get a fine view across the water of Dummail Raise. Also on the west side a path leads to Raven Crag, another popular viewing place. The lake is very quiet and crystal clear so if you want to be out of the crowds, yet not to have to negotiate winding passes to the more remote waters, then Thirlmere will do very nicely for lakeside exploration, excellent atmosphere and ideal for family picnics. Fishing is allowed on the water and is free so all you require is a rod license, but you need check the types of bait allowed. The best fishing is for perch, though there are some trout and pike and the best spots seem to be on the western side, happily near the parking bays. You can launch boats at Armboth on the west side, and though there is no permit or fee required, powerboats are strictly forbidden, nor are you allowed to swim.
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