Ullswater, Cumbria (c) Ian Hay

Britain from the Air - Ullswater

Ullswater was immortalised in William Wordsworth’s famous poem 'Daffodils'

Serene and basking in sunshine, Ullswater is an idyllic image of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’. It is a strong contestant for the most beautiful of the English lakes.

The long, narrow lake zigzags along the valley, dotted with farms and the occasional village. It presents ever-changing views to the surrounding mountains that include Helvellyn, England’s third-highest peak.

With peaks to climb, fells to walk and picturesque villages to idle in, it is easy to see why the English Lake District is a popular area for visitors.

The ice cap

Like the other lakes in Cumbria’s Lake District, Ullswater was created under harsh regimes. Glaciers flowing outwards from the ice cap that once sat over the high central part of the Lake District gouged out deep narrow valleys. As the ice melted, these were then flooded. Some of the lakes sit in deeply hollowed rock basins but others are trapped in place by dams of icedumped debris known as 'moraine'.

A source of inspiration

The British landscape has been a great source of inspiration for poets, artists and authors for generations. At the same time as Wordsworth was writing poetry, landscape painting was undergoing a revolution in Britain. With the growth of an urban, middle class as Britain industrialised, so the demand for art grew.

The landscape at this time was painted as serene and restful, a romantic vision far removed from the increasing grime and toil of the towns and cities. That vision of the countryside as the heart of the nation - the place to find peace and tranquillity, the country cottage to retire to - is still cherished by many people.

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Location: Ullswater, Cumbria, CA10 2ND
Grid reference: NY 44020 20413

Britain from the Air - Ullswater credits

Thank you to -

Ian Hay for aerial photography

Text researched and written by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Nestled not in the Lake District but among the Yorkshire Dales, Malham Tarn is the highest lake in England (337 m) and, unusually, the water is alkaline rather than acid.