Keswick, the Heart of The Lakes

The Lake District

Derwentwater, Keswick

Keswick and Derwentwater

Keswick, in the northern half of the Lake District National Park, and the lake Derwentwater are in the heart of the Lake District surrounded by dramatic countryside and spectacular mountains. It is a peaceful and unspoilt area which appeals to all ages and interests, and tourists and visitors to Keswick and Derwentwater are always impressed by the number of lakes, mountains and valleys which are so close together. This stunning region of the Lake District contains England's highest mountains which are known locally as 'fells'. The highest of these mountains is Scafell Pike in the Wasdale valley. It is part of the Southern Fells at 978 metres above sea level.

Keswick is a market town and popular tourist centre, with excellent hotels and shops, near the foot of Derwentwater, close to the southern slopes of Skiddaw. It's a good centre for walking and climbing as well as for fishing and rowing on the lake. There are tennis and bowling facilities for visitors, a museum and an art gallery. In its immediate vicinity are Castle Head, a fine viewpoint, Greta Hall, Coleridge's abode, and Crosthwaite church - an ancient church dedicated to Saint Kentigern.

Derwentwater is oval-shaped, nearly 5 kilometres long and about 1.5 kilometres wide with a depth of up to 22 metres. The lake contains several islands, including Derwent Island, Lord's Island, Rampsholme Island and St Herbert's Island. The only inhabited island is Derwent Island on which Derwent Island House, an 18th-century residence, is a tenanted National Trust property open to the public. Many of the slopes facing Derwentwater are extensively wooded.

There are many walks, climbs and excursions from Keswick and around Derwentwater, and most visitors choose to walk in the countryside at some point whether on the lakeshore paths and valley bottoms or the higher fells. There is an extensive network of established paths with endless variations of effort and distance. The lovely walk around the lake normally takes between 4 to 5 hours and most walkers start on the southern shore heading for Castle Head, Wallow Crag, Falcon Crag, Ashness Bridge and Barrow Falls until the head of the lake is reached near Lodore. The falls and gorge here should be visited. From here, returning to Keswick past Brandelhow Park to Portinscale. There are also plenty of organised and guided walks starting from Moot Hall in Keswick.

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