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7 Of The Best Lakes And Reservoirs For Hiking In The UK

10 March 2021
7 Of The Best Lakes And Reservoirs For Hiking In The UK

Photo Credit: Michael Hutchinson/Unsplash

There is something about the tranquillity of lakes, lochs, and reservoirs that makes them great destinations for hiking. Often surrounded by forests, hills, and moorland, and home to some spectacular nature, the UK has some beautiful locations to visit and explore. 

Whilst the UK is still in lockdown, it looks like there is now light at the end of the tunnel and all being well, we will soon be able to get back to safely exploring our beautiful country. This list will hopefully help to inspire your planning for future adventures.

Loch Ness
Scottish Highlands

Loch Ness

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Loch Ness is world-famous for its mythical monster. At twenty-three miles long, it’s the second largest lake in the UK, but thanks to the deepest point being some 230 metres, the Loch contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.

There are a number of waymarked trails and family suitable routes around the Loch. With forest, moorland and small hills, the loch offers plenty of options for hiking. Discover more on Visit Scotland.

Lake Vyrnwy

Lake Vyrnwy

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Nestled in the Berwyn mountains of Mid-Wales, the Victorian reservoir of Lake Vyrnwy is an idyllic retreat. At four and half miles long and a half a mile wide, there is plenty to be discovered.

With a range of trails, all walking abilities are catered for. Its shoreline is surrounded by forests, rocky crags, moorland and mountain streams, meaning that whichever route you choose, you can be sure of spectacular views and nature. Discover more on Visit Mid-Wales.

Derwent Valley Reservoirs

Derwent Vallet

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The Derwent Valley Reservoirs are made up of three bodies of water, Howden Reservoir, Derwent Reservoir and Ladybower Reservoir. Together they provide water for almost the entirety of Derbyshire and some areas of South Yorkshire as well.

There are a range of trail options across all three reservoirs, and endless possibilities for discovery. Hikes can be as hard or as easy as you like with steep wooded cloughs, forests, and moorland offering plenty of variation. Discover more on Visit Peak District.

The Lake District


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At 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, Derwentwater is situated just to the south of Keswick. Scattered with Islands and surrounded by fells and woods, the lake is often regarded as one of the most scenic in the Lake District.

With extensive wooded areas and fells to explore Derwentwater offers plenty for families and avid hikers alike. The short and sharp fell walk of Catbells is a fantastic route situated next to the lake. Discover more with the Lake District.

Llyn y fan fach
Brecon Beacons

Llyn Y Fan Fach

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Llyn Y Fan Fach doesn’t come in at the same size as other lakes and reservoirs on this list, but it’s steeped in Welsh legend and can be used as the heart of a number of excellent hikes in the Black Mountain.

Thanks to the lake's situation in the Black Mountain range, you are able to link together peaks to create a route that is as long and as challenging as you would like. Linking together both Llyn Y Fan Fach and Llyn Y Fan Fawr makes for an excellent loop of around 15km. Discover more with Discover Carmarthenshire.

Loch Lomond
Scottish Highlands

Loch Lomond

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Loch Lomand is often seen as the border between central and highland Scotland. Closely located to Glasgow, the Loch is 14 miles long and by surface area, is the largest mainland body of water in the United Kingdom.

Whether you’re looking to push yourself, or just take a gentle stroll, Loch Lomond and it’s surrounding area has everything that you need. On the eastern shore of the Loch, Ben Lomand reaches a height of 974m as the most southerly of the Munros. Discover more with Visit Scotland.

Lake District


Photo Credit: Michael Hutchinson/Unsplash

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District at 9 miles and 0.75 miles wide, situated just south of Pooley bridge.

Surrounded by forests and fells, there is again plenty of variety depending on your fitness level. The Ullswater Way, a 20 mile loop of the lake, makes for a good challenge if undertaken in one go or can be done in smaller sections. The loop is mostly easy terrain so great for all abilities. Discover more on the Lake District.

Huw Saunders

About the Author:

Huw Saunders - Outdoor Expert

Growing up in rural Wales, Huw has been immersed in the outdoors for as long as he can remember. If not surfing the Welsh coast, he can now usually be found either running or hiking in the Peak District and through the winter, tries to get out to Europe to ski as much as possible.

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