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Borrowdale - Rosthwaite.jpg
Borrowdale is located in Cumbria
Borrowdale shown within Cumbria
Population 417 (2011)
Civil parish
  • Borrowdale
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Keswick, Cumbria
Postcode district CA12 5
Dialling code 017687
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
List of places
54°31′45″N 3°08′45″W / 54.529167°N 3.145833°W / 54.529167; -3.145833Coordinates: 54°31′45″N 3°08′45″W / 54.529167°N 3.145833°W / 54.529167; -3.145833
Derwent Water in Borrowdale at dusk
Southern aspect of Derwent Water and fells

Borrowdale is a valley and civil parish in the English Lake District in the Borough of Allerdale in Cumbria, England.

Borrowdale lies within the historic county boundaries of Cumberland, and is sometimes referred to as Cumberland Borrowdale to distinguish it from another Borrowdale in the historic county of Westmorland.

Simon Jenkins rates the view of Borrowdale from Castle Crag looking towards Derwentwater as one of the top ten in England[1].


The valley rises in the central Lake District and runs north carrying the River Derwent into the lake of Derwentwater. The waters of the River have their origins over a wide area of the central massif of the Lake District north of Esk Hause and Stake Pass, including draining the northern end of Scafell including Great End, the eastern side of the Dale Head massif, the western part of the Central Fells and all the Glaramara ridge. Near Rosthwaite the side valley of Langstrath joins the main valley from Seathwaite before the combined waters negotiate the narrow gap known as the Jaws of Borrowdale. Here it is flanked by the rocky crags of Castle Crag and Grange Fell. The valley then opens out around Grange before the river empties into Derwentwater, overlooked by Catbells, Skiddaw and Walla Crag.

The valley lends its name to the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, a geological development from the Ordovician period. This rock makes up most of the mountains at the head of Borrowdale, including Scafell Pike and Great Gable.

The B5289 road runs down the full length of the valley, and at the southern end crosses the Honister Pass to Buttermere.At the heart of the valley is the village of,_Borrowdale,_Cumbria , Other Borrowdale villages include Stonethwaite ,Seatoller ,Seathwaite and Grange.


The civil parish of Borrowdale covers a considerable area around the valley, including the southern half of Derwent Water. It includes the settlements of Grange, Rosthwaite, Seathwaite, Seatoller, Stonethwaite and Watendlath. It lies entirely within the Lake District National Park. At the time of the 2001 census the parish had a population of 438 living in 137 households,[2][3] reducing in the 2011 Census to a population of 417 in 128 households.[4]

For local government purposes the civil parish forms part of the district of Allerdale within the county of Cumbria. It is within the Workington constituency of the United Kingdom Parliament, and the North West England constituency of the European Parliament.[2]


The valley is a tourist location, with hotels, guesthouses, holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts, youth hostels and campsites. It caters for the lowland visitor as well as the hill-walker who can choose from a range of mountains, including the fells mentioned above as well as England's highest, Scafell Pike.

Some time before 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), a major deposit of graphite was discovered near the Seathwaite hamlet in Borrowdale parish.[5][6] The locals found that it was useful for marking sheep. The graphite was pure and solid, and it could easily be sawed into sticks; the pencil industry was born in nearby Keswick. The graphite find remains unique.[7][8][9][10][11]

Borrowdale in literature[edit]

In the first of Hugh Walpole's series of four novels about the Herries family, Rogue Herries, Borrowdale is the site of a fictional house called Herries, the home of Francis Herries, the protagonist of this novel. Subsequent novels in the series are also largely set in Borrowdale. The valley and its surrounding mountains are described in sympathetic detail. Walpole himself had a house at Brackenburn,Manesty overlooking Derwent Water from 1924 until his death in 1941.Hazel Bank Country House was the fictional home of Rogue Herries and birth place of Judith Paris .Sir Hugh Walpole wasa friend of the Simpson family who owned Hazel Bank and it is where he found his inspiration the "Herries Chronicles"

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Allerdale". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Martin Norgate & Jean Norgate (2008). "Old Cumbria Gazetteer, black lead mine, Seathwaite". Retrieved 19 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Alfred Wainwright (2005). A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Western Fells. ISBN 0-7112-2460-9. 
  7. ^ Parnell, J. (2009). "Genesis of the graphite deposit at Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Cumbria". Geological Magazine. 119 (05): 511. doi:10.1017/S0016756800026868. 
  8. ^ Strens, R. G. J. (2009). "The Graphite Deposit of Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Cumberland". Geological Magazine. 102 (05): 393. doi:10.1017/S0016756800053668. 
  9. ^ Weis, P; Friedman, I; Gleason, J (1981). "The origin of epigenetic graphite: evidence from isotopes". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 45 (12): 2325–2332. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(81)90086-7. 
  10. ^ Ortega, L.; Millward, D.; Luque, F.J.; Barrenechea, J.F.; Beyssac, O.; Huizenga, J.-M.; Rodas, M.; Clarke, S.M. (2010). "The graphite deposit at Borrowdale (UK): A catastrophic mineralizing event associated with Ordovician magmatism". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 74 (8): 2429–2449. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2010.01.020. 
  11. ^ Barrenechea, J. F.; Luque, F. J.; Millward, D.; Ortega, L.; Beyssac, O.; Rodas, M. (2009). "Graphite morphologies from the Borrowdale deposit (NW England, UK): Raman and SIMS data". Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology. 158: 37–51. doi:10.1007/s00410-008-0369-y.