Queen of the Lakes

As Derwentwater in the English Lake District used to be called. It has also been known as Keswick Water too, but you are unlikely to hear that name now that the Ordnance Survey has clearly marked on its maps Derwentwater. Derwent is a common name throughout England. It derives from the Old English for the Oak tree. This may be a reference to the Atlantic Oak woodlands which are only found on western seaboard of Britain and receive up to 11 feet of rainfall per year. Borrowdale is renown for these woodlands which have been called Europe’s temperate rainforests.

The lake itself is just under three miles long and just over two miles wide. The romantic poet John Ruskin’s earliest memory was of Derwentwater “one of the three or four most beautiful views in Europe”. He was in his pram at the time being pushed by his nurse at the time. Its shallow waters contain the rare fish Vendace, one of only four sites in the UK where this fish is found. On a sourer note Derwentwater also contains the invasive species New Zealand Pigmy Weed. This plant was sold as an oxygenating plant for ponds but has spread rapidly. It forms dense mats in which native aquatic plant species can not compete. The mats can impede drainage which causes flooding.

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