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A rare visit to Derwent Island

Written by George Fisher

Image for article A rare visit to Derwent Island

Derwent Water by Keswick has four islands: Derwent, Lord's, Rampsholme and St. Herbert's. Apart from Derwent Island, which is a private residence, boat users are welcome to land on the islands, but not to stay overnight or light any fires.

As Derwent Island is privately owned the opportunity doesn't come around very often for the public to visit. So when it does arise you have to grab it! The National Trust have 5 open days a year and I was lucky enough to squeeze on to one of them today.

Meeting on the shores of Derwentwater just past the Keswick Launch, Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft took us safely across to Derwent Island in canoes rafted together in pairs.  We met at 2 pm and had till 4:30 pm for our return.

When on the island we were told about its history and taken on a tour of the house.  The island was once owned by the monks of Fountains Abbey, then it was inhabited by a group of German miners who had moved to the area to work.  The current house was built by Joseph Pocklington in the 18th century and considered by Wordsworth to be a blot on the otherwise beautiful landscape.  It was taken over in 1950's by the National Trust.  The house is full of original fixtures, fittings, beautiful old furniture and artwork, you are not allowed to photograph inside the house as it also has some personal items of the tenants and and some of the artwork is on loan to the National Trust.  

After our tour of the house, we had an hour to wander round the island, enjoying its gardens and visit the small pop-up cafe to enjoy a cuppa and fruit scone on the veranda overlooking Derwentwater and Cat Bells.  This island is a wonderful little gem and well worth a visit if you are in Keswick on one of the 5 open days. 

Derwent Isle Open Day visit


Written by staff member Victoria Kimber.