Thirlmere reservoir

Important safety notice: Updated 19/05/2022

Following several storm events, the Thirlmere catchment experienced extensive damage leaving fallen trees and unstable slopes in many locations around the estate. 

Our team and specialist contractors have worked hard to carry out complex tree recovery and slope stability work as well as repairing associated damaged walls, paths and tracks.

We now have over three miles of the west road fully open for everyone's enjoyment and around a mile open with restricted access available on foot or bicycle only.

Sadly, there's still a half mile section of the road in the middle that we're unable to reopen for any access. This section has suffered severe damage to a rock face, known locally as Rough Crag. The crag is around 100 metres in height with a 60 metre face sitting directly above the west road with no buffer between.

A number of mature trees growing from the crag have been blown loose during the storms with the root plates lifting and dislodging the rock face behind.  Some material has fallen down the face and onto the road, but a significant amount of loose material is still suspended directly above the road that presents a major risk to the public.

Working with Cumbria County Council who own the highway, we have surveyed the full extent of the crag with a drone and camera which has shown that there is much more material waiting to fall down. We have now engaged specialists to carry out further assessments and provide us with a suitable solution to make the rock face safe and allow us to re-open the road.

It's been agreed with Cumbria County Council that this section of road will remain closed until we are both satisfied that the area is safe for vehicles and the general public.

If travelling from the south along the road on the western side of Thirlmere, access is available up to Dobgil car park and up to Armboth car park from the north. The section between will not be open for through traffic, pedestrians or cyclists. 

An alternative cycle route to avoid using the A591 is available, but extra care should be taken as this is a rough forest track and not suitable for road bikes. We understand how frustrating these closures are for the local community and visitors and thank you for bearing with us.

Please observe safety signage if you’re visiting Thirlmere and we’re continuing to work as quickly as we can to safely open areas for your enjoyment.

Thank you for your cooperation.

ThirlmereOriginally two smaller lakes, the Manchester City Corporation Waterworks purchased the lakes in 1889 and dammed the area, creating Thirlmere reservoir. The damming of the reservoir resulted in the submergence of two villages; Armboth and Wythburn.

The reservoir supplies water to Manchester with a low level circular route to walk around. There are more challenging routes in the surrounding fells with the Helvellyn Ridge to the east, providing stunning scenery. 

Thirlmere reservoir offers a peaceful escape and is a great place to spot red squirrels, being a designated red squirrel reserve.  


Location Opening Hours Parking Cycling

Keswick, CA12 4TW.

Tel: 017687 72334

Open all day, every day.

Car parks are 'Pay and Display'. Coins only, tickets transferable in United Utilities car parks on day of issue.


A591: Swirls and Wythburn

West Road: Steel End, Dob Gill and Armboth

BE5322: Legburthwaite

Reservoir circular route suitable for cycling. Fell and forest trails suitable for mountain biking.

Location Horse Riding Other activities Picnic area
Toilets located at Armboth, Dob Gill and Swirls car parks - but closed in Winter Bridleways available as shown on the OS map of the area. For event access or advice contact our Northern Catchment Team by emailing us or calling 01768 772 334 Picnic areas are available across sites
Circular route around the reservoir with more challenging routes in the surrounding fells. No camping is allowed on our land, on lay-bys or car parks    

If you have any general enquiries, please speak to our friendly team on 0345 672 3723.

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