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Thirlmere walk to step back into history

Posted 8 May 2012
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Thirlmere walk to step back into history
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An upcoming walk guided by Lake District National Park rangers will show off the history of Thirlmere reservoir, the first one to be created in what later became the national park.

Staged on May 13th, it climbs to Great How for panoramic views, before descending to the dame at the north end of the lake, where participants can learn about its construction and conservation issues.

Beginning in the Legburthwaite Car Park at 11:15 BST, the 3.1-mile trek requires "appropriate footwear" and "walking equipment", so hiking boots, waterproofs and walking trousers would be among the useful items.

Thirlmere reservoir was constructed in the late 19th century to supply Manchester with water after the city's source at Spring Gardens dried up, with the dam in place by 1894 and a 70-mile aqueduct taking the water southwards to the city by gravitational means.

Before this time, the valley had consisted of two smaller lakes - Leathes Water and Wythburn Lake - which were separated by a small narrows crossed by a Bridge. The village of Wythburn was also in this valley and most of it had to be abandoned to the rising waters, although its church survives and is situated by the A591 Grasmere to Keswick Road that ruins past the reservoir.

Those wanting to walk alongside Thirlmere can do so along its wooded western bank, which is only flanked by a minor road.

From this side, walkers can also take a woodland walk to Harrop Tarn, which is gradually shrinking due to encroaching vegetation, while the path beyond offers a high crossing past one of the Lake District's three Blea Tarns on the way down to Watendlath above Borrowdale. 

Walkers can also access the lake from Thirlspot on the eastern side, with a footpath from the other side of the A591 providing a route up Helvellyn via Lower Man.

Following the creation of Thirlmere, Haweswater was dammed to provide a second reservoir for Manchester in the 1940s.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801358800-ADNFCR