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Thirlmere in the Lake District

Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Thirlmere in Cumbria.

Thirlmere Reservoir, the Lake District and Cumbria.

Length: 3.7mls/6km.
Nearest towns:
Keswick N on the A591, 4mls/6km.
Ambleside S on the A591, 7.5mls/12km.
Location map

Thirlmere has been a reservoir since 1894 at which time it was enlarged, there was an outcry at the time for it radically altered a beautiful valley.

The works were carried out to supply the City of Manchester with water using an ingenious series of underground channels and pipes.

The waterworks at the north end of the reservoir are impressive and resemble a fort or castle.

Comparatively recently the public has been given greater access to this stretch of water though naturally there are no water sports allowed.


The road above the reservoirs western shore is generally quiet and pleasant to walk along and runs through woods where you will see signposts to nature trails.

You can find paths down to the waters edge.

If you want more spectacular views of Thirlmere a hike up Helvellyn is recommended.


Between Keswick and Ambleside in the shadow of Helvellyn in the middle of the Lake District.

Map of Thirlmere