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Derwentwater in the Lake District

Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Derwentwater in Cumbria.

Derwent Water Lake. Cumbria and the Lake District.

Length: 3mls/5km.
Nearest towns:
Keswick A few hundred yard/meters to the north.
Cockermouth W on the A66, 12mls/20kms.

Location map

Keswick is fortunate in having one of the most beautiful 'backyards' imaginable.

Derwentwater is a natural attraction to visitors and is also a place where the townspeople come to enjoy the marvellous views of the surrounding fells and the poetic vision of the lake itself.

To the west is Cat Bells and Black Crag, shown in the picture above.To the east is Castlerigg Fell and to the north, beyond Keswick is Skiddaw, one of the highest of the Lake District fells.

Skiddaw above Keswick and Derwent Water Lake. Cumbria and the Lake District.
Skiddaw seen from the ferry landing.

To the south is the lovely Borrowdale through which the River Derwent flows down from the high fells above Seathwaite.

A ferry service round the lake drops passengers off at various points on the lake shore. This is the best way to view the islands on the lake.

Of the four islands one, Derwent, is in private hands and not open to the public but makes a lovely picture with its villa and boat house.

Wordsworth scathingly objected to the house and other constructions on the island in his time. They apparently weren't to his taste, but they are now seen as handsome additions to the lake.

Catbells above Derwent Water, Keswick. Cumbria and the Lake District.
Catbells above Dewentwater.

Of the others, St Herberts is probably the easiest to land and picnic on should you choose to hire a boat to explore the lake at your own pace. St. Herbert used the island as a retreat and gave it its name after his death on the same day as his great friend St. Cuthbert in 687AD.


Cat Bells is popular with climbers but those more interested in a quiet stroll around the lake taking in the sights can take the ferry from Keswick to Hawes End.

From there you can walk north or south, the latter being longer and possibly more rewarding. If you do decide to walk south follow the path round the end of the lake and step aboard the ferry at the south east shore; alternatively, walk further down the valley to the charming hamlet of Grange.

There are many more walks around the fells and the beautiful Borrowdale for people of all abilities.


In the north of the Lake District and only a few yards from Keswick.

Map of Derwent Water