Packhorse Bridge at Watendlath
Watendlath shown within Cumbria
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Blea Tarn Gill, 700 feet (210 m) above Watendlath Tarn, provides the tarn with its water. Water from Watendlath Tarn flows into the beck of the same name and eventually feeds Lodore Falls, and ends up in Derwent Water.
The tarn is 7 acres (28,000 m2) in size, with a maximum depth of 56 feet (17 m). It was given to the National Trust by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise, in memory of her brother, King Edward VII.
For local government purposes Watendlath forms part of the civil parish of Borrowdale, the district of Allerdale, and the county of Cumbria. Historically part of Cumberland, it is within the Workington constituency of the United Kingdom Parliament, and the North West England constituency of the European Parliament.
The traditional Lakeland farm in Watendlath is rented out by the National Trust and, as is the case with Lakeland farms owned by the Trust, the herd of Herdwick sheep are owned by the Trust and not the farmer, changing hands with each tenant. This is part of the National Trust's policy aimed at ensuring this rare breed's survival.
Fold Head Farm house was used by Sir Hugh Walpole as the fictional home of Judith Paris in his Herries Saga of four novels published in the early 1930s
Watendlath in poetry
Edmund Casson's poem The Wise Kings of Borrowdale:
- Watendlath's quiet nook.
- A farm is there, and a slated barn,
- And a waterfall, and a pebbly tarn;
- And all the way to High Lodore
- The banks of the beck are painted o'er
- With red herb-willow and red loose-strife.
Access by road
Watendlath is reached by a minor road from the Borrowdale road (B5289). The single track unmarked road winds its way up over Ashness Bridge, which is a traditional stone-built bridge and a very famous landmark. Motorists encountering any traffic coming in the opposite direction on the single track road must use the passing places that are provided. Near the bridge is a cairn to the Lakeland fell-runner Robert Graham, who in 1932 set a Lakeland 24-hour record of 42 tops, which was not equalled for 28 years.
One famous painting of Watendlath is by Dora Carrington and this picture hangs in the Tate Gallery.
During the period 1917-21 Carrington's subjects were mostly intimate portraits and landscapes. The painting depicts Watendlath Farm, where the newly-wed Carrington spent a summer holiday with her husband and their friends in 1921. Among the guests was her husband's friend, Gerald Brenan, with whom she developed a mutual attraction. The identity of the two figures in white is not known.