The Lewis Burn inlet walk at Kielder Water
Set in one of the more remote parts of Northumberland, Kielder Water may be man-made, but it is a haven of tranquillity. This lovely stretch of water is surrounded by forest; at over 250 square miles, the largest working forest in England. The lake is a popular place for water sports, while the forest offers miles of walking and biking trails. It is a haven for wildlife, one of the few places in England where you can see red squirrels. And on a clear night its skies are full of stars, as this is an International Dark Sky Park with the largest expanse of dark night sky in the whole of Europe and a renowned observatory.
Kielder is the largest artificial lake in the UK, by capacity of water held. It was first conceived of in the 1960s when it was anticipated that the demand for water, especially by heavy industry in the north east region, would put a lot of pressure on the system. The decline in such industries meant that this never happened, and some questioned whether Kielder was necessary at all. But in recent years water shortages in the UK have seen the south of the country experience restrictions on use (such as banning the use of hosepipes); while the north east, thanks to Kielder, has had plenty of water for all.
Another reason for controversy surrounding Kielder’s construction was the loss of several farms in the valley, and even of a school. So at the time it was a far from universally welcomed project. But today it seems that all controversy is at an end; the project is generally considered a success, both for the water it supplies and the tourism it brings to the region.
Some may bemoan the introduction of these conifers into what was once mostly open moorland; but there is a mysterious quality to their darkness that appeals to me. You might almost imagine Little Red Riding Hood to walk out of their depths!
The trees were introduced in the 1920s and 1930s, with much of the planting work being undertaken by unemployed miners and shipbuilders from the north east’s urban areas. They were housed in a camp on site – a camp which is now under the waters. I wonder what they made of their work in such an alien (to them) environment? The wide open moors must have seemed a long way from the pit and the shipyard. Today the Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission who state as their aim:
‘to create and sustain forests and woodlands which are attractive as well as productive, useful to the community and pleasant places for people to visit, rich in wildlife, both plant and animal, and where the natural and cultural heritage is safely conserved.’
Lewis Burn inlet
There is a lot to see and do. But today I want to take you on a walk around one small area, the Lewis Burn Inlet. At this spot the lakeside way, which encircles the whole reservoir, leaves the shore of the lake to turn for a short distance up a burn. It then crosses it via an elegant suspension bridge and returns through forest glades to the water’s edge.
On the day we did this walk, this was a magical spot. The inlet was almost completely still and reflected the surrounding trees and blue sky perfectly, apart from when on occasion the reflections were disturbed by a leaping trout. The amount of water in this landscape ensures a lush greenness wherever you look.
There were beautiful wild flowers to add touches of vivid yellows and purples among the predominant greens; and waving grasses and rushes by the water’s edge.
The loop path ends near the Mirage jetty, where we walked out to the end to get some great views of Kielder Water itself. A lovely end to our short walk.
I’m sharing this today for the Sunday Stills Spring Green challenge and for Jo’s Monday Walk. For more photos of Kielder have a look at my gallery, Morning mists over Matthew’s Linn.
I visit Kielder regularly; these photos were all taken in 2015
Your views make me homesick for where I lived before (in the forest). Beautiful and amazing:) Jesh
Thank you Jesh – I don’t like to think I made you homesick but I’m glad you enjoyed the views 🙂
Don’t feel sorry,Views like that are a breath of fresh air! I didn’t think I would miss it that much. But brown is my least favorite color, lol.
I’ve never been to that part of the UK so it’s nice to see a bit of the Kielder area. It looks lovely, and I love the view from the Mirage Jetty, it’s gorgeous 🙂
Thank you Eunice 🙂 Kielder is perhaps a bit off the beaten track but worth the effort to get there if you have the chance!
Lovely walk, Sarah. It’s not a part of England I’m familiar with, but it looks like it has a lot to offer. Not hard to see why Mirage Jetty got its name.
Thank you Graham, I’m glad you enjoyed the walk 🙂
Emma, West Sussex
So very beautiful – and how well named ‘mirage jetty’ is!!
Thank you Emma 🙂
Thank you Sarah for taking us on your walk. Kielder seems to be filled with mystery and beauty. Your photos are wonderful! The history of how it came to be is interesting. Certainly a place I would love to visit. 🙂
Thank you so much Lisa 🙂 There is a lot to see and do at Kielder. One day I must share some photos of our visit to the Birds of Prey centre there for one of your challenges!
ooohhhh, Birds of Prey. We did that early on. Week #9. I’m sure I will bring it back at some point. Everyone loves birds of prey and the power they expel. 🙂
I’ll look out for it. But I may be able to use some sooner if they fit another theme (colour, letter of the alphabet etc). I’ll bear them in mind. Have you ever done owls?
That would be awesome! I look forward to it! 🙂
Wow, this is such a beautiful place!
Love your photo’s with the trees reflecting in the water and then that photo taken of the trees from below (it almost feel as if I’m standing under the trees 😊).
Thank you Corna, I’m so happy you enjoyed seeing my photos 🙂
What an amazing area to share with us, Sarah, and such lovely spring greens! Water is so important and the fact that this is man made lake really is impressive.
Thank you Terri, I appreciate you taking the time to comment in the middle of moving in!!
These photos are stunning!!! I love them. What a beautiful area. Visiting from Sunday Stills
Thank you so much Kirstin, and thanks for coming over to visit 😀
One of the great things about blogging and being part of the blogosphere is that one gets to know of so many places that would otherwise never come to one’s notice. The bad thing is that it sets up desires and longings to see these places and such is this one. What a delightful place Kielder is, thank you for bringing it to my notice.
Ha, that’s so true Mari! I’ve had the same problem for years now reading reviews by Virtual Tourist friends as well as blogs more recently 🙂 But they’ve inspired me to visit places I had never considered, like the White Sands in New Mexico and of course North Korea! Glad you enjoyed your virtual visit to Kielder 😀
Still waters were picture perfect!
Thank you 😊
I’m not all that familiar with Kielder. But my daughter is. She had to wear a mosquito bag over her head the entire week she was camping there. She had a good time, but .. .
We’ve never had a particular problem with mozzies there but it probably depends on the time of year. I know in Scotland they tend to be worse in the first part of the summer, whereas our Kielder visits have been in August in recent years. And we’ve never camped!
I never knew there was such a thing as an International Dark Sky Park. What a great idea!
There are quite a few now I believe but I think this was the very first! Much of Northumberland is included in it, not just the area around Kielder, but the observatory makes it a particular selling point here. You can see the full list here: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
Sarah, thanks for the link. I see there is only one in Germany (Eifel National Park) but two in the Netherlands.
You were lucky with the day, Sarah! The last time we were there it was damp and drizzly, and we have not exactly fond memories of getting our car stuck in the forest and having to shovel our way out of the snow with a weeks old baby on the back seat! Happy days, they were. But I have seen Kielder in radiant sunshine, just once! 🙂 🙂 Thank you for a lovely share, bringing back lots of memories.
We were very lucky, especially as we’d booked a visit the observatory on the evening of this day! We saw a wonderful meteor shower as well as the ISS passing overhead and got to see Saturn’s rings and the Andromeda galaxy through the telescopes 😀
Fantastic! I’ve never been there at night. Must be amazing. 🙂 🙂
We don’t really know this part of the country but your photos show that it has some beautiful countryside, great walking region too. We may well get to visit for ourselves in the not too distant future as my (Michaela) Brother is just in the process of re-locating to Northumberland!🙂
Kielder is just one of so many beautiful places in Northumberland! You’ll have a great time exploring the county with your brother I am sure 🙂