Derwentwater is situated just south of the very popular tourist town of Keswick and the lake itself is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Lake District stretching as it does along a section of the Borrowdale Valley and with a tremendous variety of local accommodation available within Keswick and the surrounding villages. The Lake is the third largest in the Lake District at three miles in length and one mile wide at its widest point. The deepest part of the lake is registered at seventy two feet. Because of its size the lake has long been popular as a sailing and boating centre with its own Royal Yachting training Centre. There are several jetties and launching sites for boats of all types and both rowing boats and small motor boats can be hired. The lake is also very popular with canoeing and kyaking enthusiasts. There is a speed restriction on the Lake of ten miles per hour for all motorised vessels. Commercial Launch services are available throughout most months of the year with only weekend services operational From December through to Easter.
There are seven islands on the lake most of them wooded.The most prominent of these being Derwent Island, Lords Island, Rampsholme and Saint Herberts Island. Of these Derwent Island is inhabited and has private restriction access except for five days a year. Lords Island is uninhabited and has a small colony of Herons and is a breeding area for Sandpipers. It has a few reed beds where Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers and Water Rails can be found. It is also a favoured place for a large variety of Geese and other waterfowl. Rampsholm is another uninhabited Island given over mainly to Cormorants, Canada, Greylag and Barnacle Geese, Oystercatchers and Gulls. The last Island ‘Saint Herberts’ is home to all of the bird life found on the other islands and is an ideal place to picnic. This Island contains the ruins of a small monastic cell and chapel that was once the home of the hermit ‘St Herbert’. The Poet William Wordsworth wrote a poem on The Hermit of Derwentwater.
Otters can sometimes be seen around the islands of Derwentwater and very occasionally along the shoreline. This Lake is another site of the very rare ‘Vendace’ fish and it can be found along with Spawning Salmon, Pike, Lake and Brown Trout, Perch and Roach. Enviromental Fishing Permits are required for all fishing on the lake and these are available from several sources in Keswick.