Haweswater reservoir

COVID 19 update

Our recreation site, car parks and toilets will remain open.

Please follow Government guidelines and observe social distancing where necessary, to ensure the safety of yourself, other visitors and our staff.

Please follow the countryside code and make sure your visit is safe and responsible.

haweswaterHaweswater reservoir is the highest lake in the Lake District. It started as a natural lake. Due to water demand increase, the reservoir system was built between 1935 and 1947. The dam was the first hollow buttress dam in the world. The development of the reservoir resulted in the submergence of Mardale village, the remains of which can still be seen when the reservoir levels are low. 

The site offers spectacular views and is a great spot for keen birdwatchers, with sightings of Peregrines, Dippers and Redstarts. Deer are also present on the estate. Both level trails around the reservoir and more strenuous hill routes offer walking options for all levels.

The history of the site and wildlife spotting opportunities offer an impressive walk for all the family.

Location   Opening Hours   Parking   Information

Mardale Head car park,
CA10 2RP.

Tel: 01768 772 334.

  Open all day, every day.   Mardale Head car park, free to park, located at southern end of Haweswater reservoir.   Information board with map of reservoir and site information, located opposite the dam on the main public road.
Walking   Horse Riding   Birdwatching   Other Activities
Circular route around reservoir, marked on site information board, 5-6 hours. Hill walks around the surrounding estate.    See bridleways as demarked on OS maps of the area.   Haweswater estate is an RSPB reserve and Peregrine, Dipper, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart can be seen.   For access requests and other activities please email our Northern Catchment Team 
Fishing allowed but only with Environment Agency rod license.            


We want to share our beautiful sites with you, and we ask you enjoy them in a manner that allows others to enjoy them after you, this includes:

  • Following the Countryside Code - Respect, Protect and Enjoy.
  • Taking your litter home, or using the available bins.
  • Keeping dogs under control for the safety of livestock and others.
  • Respecting farmers at work on the land by leaving gates as you find them.
  • Sticking to paths when walking, running or cycling. This helps us protect the sensitive ecosystems that form the habitats on our sites.
  • Please help guard against wildfires by not bringing BBQ’s and taking care with disguarded cigarettes.

  • You may also want to read about:

    Reservoir safety

    Blue-green algae

    Giant hogweed

    Recreation permits