8th November 2013Watendlath: A pool of tranquillity

There are some places in the Western Lake District that are given a special frisson of magic in the golden light of autumn. The payoff for the chill that afflicts the nose and the toes is a feast of colour for the eyes as myriad hues of ochre, chestnut and saffron dapple the woodland.

Watendlath, the Western Lake District

Almost anywhere is lovely to visit when the place looks like this, but Watendlath is particularly gilded. Watendlath - which boasts both a pretty hamlet and an equally lovely tarn - is tucked away amongst the hills that rise between Derwentwater and Thirlmere. Last week I was lucky enough to have the chance to take an early morning stroll to enjoy it in all its autumnal glory.

The water from Watendlath Tarn flows down a beck and is eventually, spectacularly, deposited into Derwentwater via the Lodore Falls. A pleasant path follows the course of the beck and so did I. Watery morning sunlight meant it was one of those days when almost every turn in the path represented a new photo opportunity and I made staccato progress punctuated by frequent stops to set up the camera. Despite this I wasn't quick enough to capture the red squirrel and deer that fled into the undergrowth as I approached.

Watendlath, the Western Lake District

As I neared the farm at Watendlath - which serves delicious homemade cakes by the way - the tarn slowly came into view as did the traditional packhorse bridge over the beck. This is apparently one of the most photographed bridges in England but, tragically, my camera had run out of battery by this point (the approach was just too photogenic). However, you will have to believe me when I say it is very pretty indeed.

Watendlath, the Western Lake District

Due to the early hour I was able to enjoy the tarn in glorious seclusion, with only a few ducks for company and the odd herdwick. Throughout its history Watendlath (the name means "the barn near the water's end" in Norse) has inspired poets, artists and novelists and it is easy to see why. Its position tucked away amongst hills and woods gives it a feeling of somewhere time forgot. If you are in need of a place to breathe in the air and have bit of quiet thinking time it is just perfect.

I'll definitely be coming back with a fully charged camera battery next time!

And just so that you don't miss out on such a beautiful scene, I'm including this great photo of Watendlath Packhorse Bridge taken by Brian Sherwen.. now you can see why I'm so keen to return!

Watendlath Packhorse Bridge, the Western Lake District

Find out more…

A Walk of Art - a 8 mile circular route starting at Derwentwater Hostel to Watendlath and back (suitable for experienced walkers). The Discovering Britain ‘Walk of Art’ webpage has lots of information and there is an excellent detailed ‘Walk of Art’ guide that you can download..


A Tour of the Watendlath Valley:


Further information about Watendlath on the Visit Cumbria website:


Whitehaven - the perfect day out
Millom & Black Combe

Brian Sherwen Photography

Many images on this website have been supplied to us by Brian Sherwen.