Virginia Water Lake
|Virginia Water Lake|
|Primary inflows||River Bourne|
|Primary outflows||River Bourne|
|Basin countries||United Kingdom|
Virginia Water Lake lies on the southern edge of Windsor Great Park, in the borough of Runnymede in Surrey and the civil parishes of Old Windsor and Sunningdale in Berkshire, in England. It is a man-made lake taking its name from a natural body of water of the same name. There is a village of Virginia Water which stretches out to the east of the lake. The grounds of the lake, nearby Fort Belvedere, and the Clockcase are all Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
Virginia Water Lake was originally little more than a stream, which existed from at least the 17th century and may well be named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, although this is not certain. The lake itself was begun in 1746 by William, Duke of Cumberland who was then Ranger of the Park. Few details are recorded of the building of the lake, however it has been suggested that prisoners-of-war from the recent Jacobite risings, who were encamped at the nearby Breakheart Hill, were involved. The original lake was much smaller than the current form, and was destroyed in a flood in 1768. In 1780 Paul and Thomas Sandby began construction of a much larger lake at the site, and went on to add an artificial waterfall, Meadow Pond and Obelisk Pond.
During World War II, the lake was drained, as its obvious shape provided enemy guidance at night to Windsor and other important military targets in the area.
The circuit around the lake is about 4.5 miles (7.2 km), about half is paved and the other half is a "natural" path both providing easy walking conditions even with a pram or pushchair. Recently the lake has been used by the crews for the Harry Potter films for lakeside scenes. The Scottish alternative was deemed unsuitable due to the number of midges. The Lake was also used for scenes in the 2014 film Into The Woods.
The River Bourne provides the water for the lake and it exits the lake at the eastern end after the cascading waterfall.
- South, Raymond (1983). Royal Lake: the story of Virginia Water. Buckingham: Barracuda. ISBN 0-86023-141-0.
- Taylor, W. F. (1800). W.F. Taylor's guide to Windsor Castle, Eton, and Virginia Water: Arranged in the most concise form, and embracing a description of the gold pantry, and the interior of the private apartments, with catalogue of the paintings in the state rooms of the royal residence, with explanatory references to the most attractive and picturesque scenery, and other objects of interest to visitors in the vicinities of Windsor and Eton. Windsor: W.F. Taylor.
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