Ullswater and Matterdale

Sketch map will appear here

Ullswater is arguably the loveliest of Lakeland's larger bodies of water. Some 7 miles long, it runs generally northeastwards from the main body of the fells towards Penrith in the Eden valley. It is generally about a kilometre wide and has a double dogleg shape, a feature which ensures that not all of it can ever be in view from any one viewpoint and gives it something of an air of mystery. It divides the Helvellyn - Fairfield massif from the High Street ranges, and its head - buried deep within the fells by Glenridding and Patterdale - is said by Wainwright to be the loveliest square mile in Lakeland.

Much of the lake can be walked around, albeit by motor road on the western side. In summer, steamers ply their trade between Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

This web page also includes the wedge of land around Matterdale, east of the dodds and north of Ullswater's outer arm. Much of it is farming country centred around the hamlets of Dacre, Watermillock and Thackthwaite, but it also contains three of Lakeland's minor fells. Gowbarrow is a great sprawling mass of moraine hummocks rising above a thousand feet, and it boasts Aira Force - Lakeland's most famous waterfall - on its western edge. The other fells are the strange, isolated conical hillocks of Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell, each around 1500ft height, and infrequently climbed thanks to their separation from the main body of Lakeland's fells.

Gallery Index

Aira Force, May 1987

One of Lakeland's most famous waterfalls

Patterdale, 13th July 1994

Views of Ullswater's southern extremity

Glenridding, 28th April 2000

The sun shines after 3 days of continuous rain

The Matterdale Fells, 22nd April 2003

A walk encompassing three fells east of Matterdale

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This page last updated 6th May 2003