This lake collects waters by the Brathay from Langdale, the head of which, between Bow Fell and Langdale Pikes (2401 ft.), is very fine; and by the Rothay from Dunmail Raise and the small lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water, embowered in woods.
The most noteworthy waterfalls are - Scale Force (Dano-Norwegian fors, foss), besidesCrummock, Lodore near Derwentwater, Dungeon Gill Force, beside Langdale, Dalegarth Force in Eskdale, Aira near Ullswater, sung by Wordsworth, Stock Gill Force and Rydal Falls near Ambleside.
Out of his long life of eighty years, sixty were spent amid its lakes and mountains, first as a schoolboy at Hawkshead, and afterwards as a resident at Grasmere (1799-1813) and Rydal Mount (1813-1850).
In 1835 he visited the Lakes, and saw much of Hartley Coleridge, but would not "obtrude on the great man at Rydal," although "Wordsworth was hospitably disposed."
The scenery is very beautiful; the valley about the lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water is in great part wooded, while on its eastern flank there rises boldly the range of hills which includes Rydal Fell, Fairfield and Seat Sandal, and, farther north, Helvellyn.
The hills immediately above this part of the valley are Wansfell on the east, Loughrigg Fell on the west, and Rydal Fell and the ridge below Snarker Pike (2096 ft.) to the north.
The chief roads which centre upon Ambleside are - one from the town of Windermere, following the eastern shore of the lake; one from Ullswater, by Patterdale and Kirkstone Pass; one from Keswick, by Dunmail Raise and Grasmere, and the two lovely lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water; and one from the Brathay valley and the Langdales to the west.
In its vicinity is Rydal Mount, for many years the residence of the poet Wordsworth.
Besides its dayschools, Methodism possesses the Leys School at Cambridge, Rydal Mount at Colwyn Bay and prosperous boarding-schools for boys and girls in many parts of the country.
It was first recorded by James McBrien in 1823, as occurring in grains in the sands of the Fish river, between Rydal and Bathurst; and though further discoveries were made, they were kept secret as far as possible.