During the industrial revolution, the city of Manchester had grown a huge amount. The city had swelled quite considerably and there wasn’t enough clean water to meet demand. The city looked for options, but nothing close by was suitable to their huge needs; after searching high and low, the valley of Thirlmere was chosen.
Suitable as it was less than 100 miles from Manchester, but also because it was able to hold enough capacity for the needs of the city, a huge dam was built. The primary inflows of the reservoir are a trio of ghylls (an old Viking word meaning small river) names Launchy, Dob and Birkside and another small river named Wyth Burn. Wythburn was also the name of one of villages which was flooded when the reservoir was built, the other being Armboth.
Thirlmere is now one of the largest bodies of water in the Lake District, and certainly one of the prettiest thanks to its Evergreen backdrop. No swimming or boating is allowed on the reservoir. In fact, during summer months Armboth church spire would pop out from the surface of the water causing people to swim out and touch it; unhappy with the danger this posed, the owners of the reservoir, United Utilities, laced the spire with dynamite and blew the top off!
Thirlmere has been home to some of the worst storm damage in recent years, most significantly suffering from the devastation of Storm Desmond which destroyed the main road and disconnected the north and south of the the Lake District. Only last year the valley suffered greatly from The Beast from the East, taking out much of the forest on the far side of the valley. here are a few walks which can be done in the area, but many of them are currently closed because of this
Sitting in the shadow of England’s second highest mountain, Hellvellyn, and with a six kilometre length and a truly magnificent setting, Thirlmere is an unmissable spot to visit in the Lake District. Only thirty minutes north of Ambleside on the 555 bus which offers great views on the way to Keswick, why not spend a few hours just, well, looking at it?