Windermere is fed by numerous rivers and at 10.5 miles long, 1 mile wide and 220 feet deep, is the largest natural lake in both the Lake District and England. The long thin lake itself forms the central spine of the Windermere area of the Lake District, this area is also generally known as the South Lakes.
Left over from the Glacial era that formed the Lake are “Arctic Char” the only place in England where this fish is found. Arthur Ransome based his book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ partly on the islands and waters of Windermere and partly on nearby Coniston Water.
We are located in Lakelands most popular holiday resort, Bowness-on-Windermere, which is the hub of the districts’ tourism and the home of the Beatrice Potter exhibition. There are over 10,000 boats registered on the Lake which until March 2005 was the only lake in the Lake District without a speed limit, but now a 10-mph limit has now been imposed to protect the environment.
Directly opposite us is Belle Isle which is the largest of 18 islands on the Lake and the only one ever to have been inhabited. The existing Belle Isle House was built in 1774 to designs by John Plaw and is unusual in that it is circular in plan, Built of brick, three floors high with a four column portico; it draws closely on the Pantheon, Rome.
In the islands long history of occupation the Roman governor at Ambleside built a villa in the 1st century, In 1250 it was the seat of the district’s Lord of the Manor and it formed a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War. The island, and house, was sold to the Curwen family who renamed the island after their daughter, Isabella “Belle”
In the centre, and only five minutes from our location, the only car ferry takes around 10 minutes to cut across the centre of the Lake. It runs from Ferry Nab alongside us to Ferry House at Far Sawrey where there is a nearby Victorian viewing station. By looking through the differently coloured Stained-Glass window panels in the building you can see the spenders of the Lake through the four seasons.
To the North Lies the village of Ambleside with close alongside the Roman fort of Galava and around the corner is Wray Castle a castellated 19th century grand house.
Over to the West are the Claife heights once owned by Beatrice Potter who on her death gifted it to the National Trust to preserve its wilderness for the nation. It has been claimed that in its woods is an example of all tree types in our country, but it would take a fair time to check that out.
The lake is today one of the prime destinations for all types of water sports in the Lake District and you will find a large selection of Adventure Activity companies.