Thirlmere reservoir - safety information

We want all visitors at Thirlmere to experience a great day out in the beautiful landscape, but it’s really important that you can do so safely.

In spring 2018 a large number of established trees were blown down in extreme weather conditions during the 'Beast from the East'. Some of the trees were more than 100ft tall and weighed almost five tonnes. This also resulted in a lot of loose soil and boulders which made some of the banks unstable.

We understand the temporary Thirlmere west road, car park and footpath closures have been frustrating and impacted on both recreational and community access.  Our team have been working with specialist contractors to safely carry out the essential recovery and repair work as quickly as possible.

Update: 4 July 2019 

Thirlmere West Road update 

The Thirlmere West Road reopened fully on Tuesday 2 July.  It follows more than a year of work to recover the damage caused by the Beast from the East storm in March 2018, and ongoing removal of trees affected by larch tree disease.

Cyclists and pedestrians can also use the Dam Road, but this will remain closed to vehicles until further safety-related work can be carried out, including the provision of new passing places.

United Utilities has been working on the steep slopes above the road to remove around 10,000 trees which were blown over by the storm, or affected by larch tree disease. Some 1,800 metres of dry stone wall have been rebuilt and road drainage repaired. The 5 mile lakeshore footpath has also been repaired with new sections of boardwalk in places. 

United Utilities woodland officer, Vicky Bowman, said: “We know this will come as good news to all the people who love the Thirlmere valley, and all the visitors who are attracted here by the peace and tranquillity. It’s been a huge task and for us the work continues because there are still sections of the valley where we need to remove trees affected by larch disease or blown over by the storm. I’m pleased to say that this can be carried out with no risk to public safety, so it’s wonderful that the road is now open".

Update: 10 May 2019

Tree health notice

Inspections have confirmed a disease (Phytophthora Ramorum) affecting Larch trees in the valley.  

As a result, we were issued with a health notice  to fell or take appropriate action to remove diseased trees between Shoulthwaite Moss and Middlesteads Gill.  It is likely that further areas of trees are also affected around the Thirlmere estate and we're working closely with Forestry England and Natural England to fully assess the impact. Obviously we are extremely saddened  by this and our team have been working closely with  partners to plan the necessary action.

Open areas for public access

Thank you for your patience and understanding while our team and specialist contractors have been working to safely allow areas to be re-opened. 

There is full public access at the south end of Thirlmere, along the west road and lakeshore footpath up to Armboth car park.

The final section from Armboth car park to Shoulthwaite Moss will need to remain closed until all of the clearance work that is necessary as a result of the tree health notice is completed. We had hoped to be in a position to complete this work in March 2019. However, work is continuing and at the moment we do not have a confirmed date when the work will be completed to allow the road to re-open. 

We are working as quickly as we can and will provide updates when further areas are able to re-open for public access.  It is vital that visitors stay safe while visiting Thirlmere, so please observe signage which is clearly displayed at the areas which remain closed.

Our project team are also working in the area to install the new pipeline as part of our West Cumbria Water Supplies Project.  There are some footpaths around The Benn which have been closed while this work takes place.

Please see the Thirlmere access map (PDF 4MB opens in a new window) for full details of the current car park and footpath status. 

Thank you for your patience while our teams are working