Thirlmere reservoir

Important safety notice: Updated 08/12/2021

Unfortunately Storm Arwen has blown down or caused damage to trees around Thirlmere. For public safety we will need to close some areas and footpaths while our team assess the extent of the damage and arrange for specialist contractors to carry out recovery work.

The West Road – Currently closed
Under an Emergency closure from Dobgil to the North A591 junction. We intend to open the road back up in sections to try and provide as much access as safely possible.

Lakeshore footpath – Currently closed
This will open up in sections as the west road does.

PROW Armboth–Whatendlath - Access to it is not possible due to the wind blow on the West road.
This will remain the case until further notice.

All other footpaths remain open.

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    

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