Location : Bampton / Shap   –  Grid Ref : NY 480140

Haweswater. Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.

Haweswater is a reservoir built in the valley of Mardale. The controversial construction of the Haweswater dam was started in 1929, after Parliament passed an Act giving Manchester Corporation permission to build the reservoir to supply water for the urban conurbations of north-west England.


At the time there was much public outcry about the decision as the valley of Mardale was populated by the farming villages of Measand and Mardale Green, and the construction of the reservoir would mean that these villages would be flooded and lost, and the population would have to be moved. In addition the valley was considered one of the most picturesque in Westmorland, and many people thought it should be left alone.


Haweswater is now one of the largest lakes at 4 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, and has a maximum depth of 200 feet . It is the most easterly of the lakes, and has no settlements on its shores. A concrete dam, 1550 feet wide and 120 feet high was built, and this raised the lake level by 95 feet.


All the farms and houses of the villages of Mardale and Measand, and the Dun Bull Inn were pulled down. Coffins were removed from the graveyard, and buried elsewhere, and Mardale church was demolished. At times of drought, when the water level is low, many people go back to see what is left of the village of Mardale.


The walls around the drowned village of Mardale revealed by an exceptionally
low water level Haweswater. Photo by Ann Bowker
The hamlet of Burbanks near the Haweswater dam. Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.

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