Lake cruises on England’s most beautiful lake
Wildlife

with Ullswater 'Steamers'

 

 

The Ullswater valley is home to a rich biodiversity of wildlife including some of the UK's rarest species. Look out for our wild residents on your travels, Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Holly Blue Butterfy, Common Blue Damselfly, Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Osprey and many more species besides. The Red Deer herd is the only surviving wild herd in England, its bloodline dates back to William the Conqueror.

Under the water you will find Brown Trout, Salmon, Perch, Minnows and the rare Arctic Char; believed to have been isolated here after the retreat of Glaciers in the last Ice Age.

Wild fell ponies roam the Helton Fells whilst lakeshore trails hold an abundance of flora - Bracket Fungus, Wood Cranesbill, Pink Purslane, Wood Sorrell, Butterwort, Round Leaved Sundew Lady's Bedstraw and on the high hills look out for Juniper.

 

Geology & Wildlife

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District being approximately 7.5 miles (12 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide with a maximum depth of approximately 205ft (62m). The approximate time of the water cycle through the lake is approximately 300 days.

The valley was formed through glacial shifts and shaped as it today, by years of turbulent geological activity. During a volcanic upheaval approximately 450 million years ago, faults in the rocks allowed movement; Howtown is located on such a fault which gives Ullswater Lake its uncharacteristic kink.

The Valley today is dominated by three main groups of rocks which along with faults determine the characteristic of the landscape. These rocks types are the Borrowdale Volcanics, Skiddaw Slates and the Carboniferous Limestone.

Where the Andesite, Basalt and Rhyolite of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group meet the Skiddaw Slates, a fault line occurs. Faults are often followed by water courses as they can be eroded more easily creating spectacular features such as Scale How, Swarth Beck and Aira Force.

Ullswater is a typical narrow “ribbon lake” formed after the last ice age when the deepened section of the valley floor filled with meltwater from a retreated glacier.

The lake runs a serpentine course in three reaches. At the head of the lake stands the Helvellyn range; Helvellyn crowns a plateau approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) in length and 4 ¼ miles (7km) wide. At 3117 ft (950 m) Helvellyn is the third highest mountain in England.

The ancient woodlands provide breeding habitats for a variety of birds such as the Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree-creeper, Redstarts, Spotted & Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Lapwing, Pied & Yellow Wagtails and Yellowhammer

Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Skylark, Ring Ouzel and Red Grouse can be seen on the high fells and mountains.
Great rafts of gulls roost on the lake and the bays are frequented by Mallards, Red Breasted Mergansers, Greylag Geese, Goosanders, Kingfishers, Cormorants, Dippers, Sandpipers and Ospreys.

The Lenten lilie has pride of place immortalised by Wordsworth in his world famous poem “The Daffodils”. In the Spring, these ancient flowers can be seen by the lakeshore at Glencoyne Bay.

In early summer Bird Cherries in Scalehow Wood on the lakeshore become infested with the communal webs of the Ermine Moth Caterpillar.

A 500 year old Yew Tree resides in the grounds of the 13th century church in St Martin just outside Howtown.

On the lower slopes of Silver Crag, the flowers of the mature Holly Trees attract Holly Blue Butterflies in the month of May.