Wastwater is a lake situated in the Wasdale Valley, Cumbria. It is the deepest lake in England at a remarkable 79 m (258 ft). Wastwater is owned and managed by the National Trust and has been designated an area of special conservation.
In 2007, Wastwater was declared ‘Britain’s Favourite View’ by the voting public on an ITV program of the same name.
The lake is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains and slopes that provide an impressive and awe-inspiring view. Rising out of the lake on the south-eastern shore are The Screes; steep, craggy slopes that lead to the summits of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. The Wasdale valley is an area of arresting extremes with Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, at 978 m (3,210 ft), overlooking Wastwater and St Olaf’s, one of the country’s smallest churches, situated close by.
Wastwater is a remote and unspoiled landmark, carefully maintained by the National Trust who protect the lakes natural beauty whilst providing footpath access for the public.
The lake and surrounding mountains are favoured by canoeists, divers and climbers, as they provide fascinating challenges to extreme sports fans. The water in Wastwater is exceptionally clear, but very cold, which puts additional pressure on the body when diving. Several fatalities occurred in the late 1990’s as a result of an underwater attraction placed in the lake for divers to explore. The attraction, a ‘gnome garden’ complete with picket fence, was officially removed in 2005, but rumours report that a new gnome garden has appeared beyond the 50m depth limit.