Grasmere (lake)

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Grasmere Lake 2007.jpg
View from Loughrigg Terrace, looking
across the lake towards Grasmere village
LocationLake District, Cumbria
Coordinates54°26′56″N 3°01′15″W / 54.448834°N 3.020897°W / 54.448834; -3.020897Coordinates: 54°26′56″N 3°01′15″W / 54.448834°N 3.020897°W / 54.448834; -3.020897
Primary inflowsRiver Rothay
Primary outflowsRiver Rothay
Basin countriesEngland
Max. length1680yd (1540m)
Max. width700yd (640m)
Surface area0.24mi² (0.62km²)
Average depth70ft (21m)

Grasmere is one of the smaller lakes of the English Lake District, in the county of Cumbria. It gives its name to the village of Grasmere, famously associated with the poet William Wordsworth, which lies immediately to the north of the lake.[1]

The lake is 1680 yd (1540 m) long and 700 yd (640 m) wide, covering an area of 0.24 mi² (0.62 km²). It has a maximum depth of 70 ft (21m) and an elevation above sea level of 208 ft (62 m). The lake is both fed and drained by the River Rothay, which flows through the village before entering the lake, and then exits downstream into nearby Rydal Water, beyond which it continues into Windermere.[1][2]

The waters of the lake are leased by the Lowther Estate to the National Trust. The waters are navigable, with private boats allowed and rowing boats for hire, but powered boats are prohibited.

The lake contains a single island, known as The Island.[1] In 2017 this island was bequeathed to the National Trust.[3] This gift has particular significance to the National Trust, as the organisation was founded in response to the sale of the same island to a private bidder in 1893. Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley felt that such a location should instead be in public ownership, and soon afterwards started the National Trust with Octavia Hill and Robert Hunter.[4]


" 'The lake flanked by grass'; 'gres', 'mere'. Early spellings in 'Grys-', 'Gris(s)-' might suggest ON 'griss' 'young pig' as 1st el.[ement], but the weight of the evidence points to OE/ON 'gres' 'grass', with the modern form influenced by Standard English....The medial '-s(s)e-' may, as suggested by Eilert Ekwall in DEPN,[5] point to ON 'gres-saer' 'grass-lake' as the original name.".[6] Plus the element "'mere' OE, ModE 'lake, 'pool'".[7]

(OE is Old English up to around AD 1100; ON is Old Norse.)


  1. ^ a b c Parker, 2004, pages 34-36
  2. ^ Parker, 2004, page 90
  3. ^ "Grasmere Island is given to the National Trust". BBC. 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  4. ^ Hannah Furness (2017-02-22). "National Trust finally owns Lake District island which inspired its creation, after generous donor leaves it in her will". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  5. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names (4th ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. l, 546.
  6. ^ Whaley, Diana (2006). A dictionary of Lake District place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. lx, 423 p.136. ISBN 0904889726.
  7. ^ Whaley, 2006, p.411,


  • Parker, John Wilson (2004). An Atlas of the English Lakes. Cicerone Press. ISBN 1-85284-355-1.