Sailing boats on Windermere copyright Charlie Hedley

Windermere Catchment Restoration Programme

What's the problem?

Windermere's water quality has been declining for many years. This has badly affected several native plants and animals whilst some non-native ones are doing well.

It is now time to act.

Let Windermere tell you herself!

What do we want to do?

Our partnership of organisations has resolved to restore Windermere to its former high quality. We want a healthy Windermere catchment, for now, for ever.

Healthy: in terms of water quality and natural wildlife and habitats.

Catchment: everything we put on the land or discharge into the streams or rivers finds its way to the lake; so to protect the lake we must protect the whole ‘water’ or ‘drainage’ catchment. Find out

For now, for ever: because everything we do should be a permanent investment, not just for the short term.


  1. To improve the water quality and protect the natural ecology of the catchment and its lakes.
  2. To increase environmental awareness amongst resident and visitor communities by providing opportunities to celebrate and enjoy what is special about Windermere and its catchment.
  3. To ensure that improvements to lakes and landscape in the catchment support a healthy local economy

What benefits will come from it?


A reduction in soil erosion and deposition in rivers and lakes; reduced nutrients entering the catchment, and improved water quality in bathing waters. Wildlife and habitats will also improve.


Visitors and residents understanding and actively engaged in resolving lake issues and enhanced health benefits for all through greater access.


Promotion of more sustainable farming, woodland management and tourism.

What we expect to see

We will bring together all the existing work currently taking place which can contribute to the Windermere catchment restoration programme. This will be supplemented by new projects such as:

  • Protecting vulnerable soils against erosion through river corridor and ghyll fencing, and improving woodland and grass cover across the catchment.
  • Reducing the amount of nutrients entering water courses by raising awareness about the use of household products.
  • Working with farmers to reduce fertiliser usage.
  • Encouraging the local community and visitors to get involved to help achieve a healthy Windermere catchment, for now, for ever.

Greener Boating video

A fun take on how to keep Windermere healthy created by Windermere Reflections:

Useful links

Who is involved?

  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • Environment Agency
  • Natural England
  • National Trust
  • United Utilities
  • Forestry Commission
  • Cumbria Tourism
  • South Lakeland District Council

From 2009 a number of opportunities will encourage clubs, societies and the local community to get involved in the programme.