Lake Semerwater Wensleydale


Semerwater is the largest Natural Glacial Lake in the old North Riding of Yorkshire.

Semerwater has inspired many an Artist; Poet and more recently Photographers; TV Programme Makers and Folk Singers through its myths and legends.


One of the Legends of Semerwater tells of a beggar, who once visited a thriving city.  There he asked for food and shelter but he was turned away and ignored.  He went to a small cottage nearby where he was given food and a place to rest.  The next morning he cursed the city with the following words:

“Semerwater rise Semerwater sink and bury the town all save the house where they gave me meat and drink.”

The legend has been told and passed down through the generations in stories and verse.  One of the most famous adaptations is a poem by Sir William Watson called the Ballad of Semerwater. 


  The other Legend tells how the Carlow stone arrived at Semerwater when a Giant on Addlebrough and the Devil situated on neighbouring Crag had a fight and threw stones at each other. 


Semerwater  has been painted by many aritists the most famous being JMW Turner RA (1775-1851).  He visited the Lake on 26th July 1816 on one of his many tours and is now part of the Turner Trail.  Further details of the Turner Trail can be seen on the Welcome to Yorkshire Website.