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Esthwaite Water is a natural lake situated in a glacial valley and is generally agreed to be the most productive or eutrophic lake in the English Lake District. It lies approximately 65 m above sea level and has an area of 1 km2 and a maximum depth of 15.5 m. The catchment area is 17.1 km 2 and the hills are composed geologically of Bannisdale slates and grits. The surrounding land is used chiefly for agricultural purposes and forestry.
The lake is a grade 1 Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has been a designated "Ramsar" site since November 1991. The diverse aquatic invertebrate fauna includes a number of species with restricted distributions in Britain, one of which is the flatworm Bdellocephala punctata. The slender naiad Najas flexilis, a plant listed as Nationally Scarce, has been found in Esthwaite Tarn.
Esthwaite Water will be included in the developing United Kingdom Lake Ecological Observatory Network (UKLEON).
There is more information about Esthwaite Water on the CEH website.