High Dam.

High Dam was said by Wainwright to be

Far superior to Tarn Hows

and the Independent said it was

in the top ten Summer walks in the country.

High praise then for a lake that can walked to from Woodside’s front door.


Ham Dam

High Dam in Summer


Situated at the bottom of Lake Windermere not far from Newby Bridge is the village of Finsthwaite. A great family walk at all times of year is the circular walk round High Dam. Although it was January the wintry sunshine was starting to filter through the trees.

The first thing you notice when you park in the small car park at the start of the walk is the reference to the old industry of bobbin making. A large Bobbin with a relief map gives an insight into the history of the area.

Inscribed around it are the following words. “This is the water that turned the wheel that spins the lathe, that shapes the wood, to make the bobbin, to wind the thread, that wove the wealth of Lancashire. These are the trees, that cut by man, will sprout again, feed Stott Mill, to make the bobbins to earn the pay, that fed the folk of Finsthwaite”. Stott Park Bobbin Mill is situated close by and open to the public.

Leave the car park and take the path to the left.

Trails are well marked and this follows the route of the yellow arrows if you want to try it yourself. A short walk uphill and a first glimpse of Low Dam.

Finsthwaite Tarn was made into the higher and lower dams to power a 32 feet water wheel at the bobbin mill which at one time employed as many as 250 workers. Carry on up the path to High Dam.

While it must be said, Autumn is my favourite time of year here it can’t be denied that the reflections can be wonderful at any time of year.

Cross over the dam to walk round. The tarn is surrounded with Larches, Scots Pines, Oak and Birch trees.

The sun was starting to come out although there were still icy patches on the far side of the tarn.

Great views all round the tarn, and no one about even though it was almost mid day. Tarn Hows is another similar place in the area which is often very busy, so this is a hidden gem. Onwards and upwards.

It isn’t long till you reach the highest part of the walk with a conveniently placed seat to take a rest and enjoy the view. Having said this, it is quite overgrown here so in my opinion not the best place to view the dam.

Downhill from now on and a short stretch of meadow to cross at the end. This bit can be quite muddy at times.

This brings you to a short stretch of woodland, and back to the dam.

Looking over to where we have just walked.

I would recommend this walk especially for families and it’s a brilliant place for dog walking.

Now up until now I hadn’t seen a single soul, however I was not to be disappointed. I can safely say that I have never visited here and not seen someone sitting with a flask of coffee at the little bridge at the start of the walk, and right enough, there they were enjoying the view.

From the car park, round the dam and back takes about an hour. At the moment the car park is free however there is talk of charging to park here.

Other things of interest nearby.

Stott Park Bobbin Mill. Owned by English Heritage. Created the wooden Bobbins vital to the Lancashire weaving and spinning Industries.

St.Peters Church Finsthwaite. Amazing painted vaulted ceiling. Situated in the grave yard is the grave of Clementina Sobieski Douglas “The Cumbrian Princess” reported to be the daughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie.