Ennerdale Water is unique as the only Cumbrian lake that doesn't have a public road running along its full length. The furthest that it is possible to reach by car is the Forestry Commission car park at Bowness Knott, half way along the northern side of the lake. This combines with Ennerdale's remote location to make it one of the quietest parts of the Lake District. This is aided by the almost complete lack of facilities around the lake
The top of Bowness Knott was once a fine viewpoint over the lake and the valley, but some of that view is now blocked by increasingly tall trees. A better view is now available from Brown How, easily reached along a path that follows Rake Beck, starting from a point just up the road from Bowness Knott. The top of Angler's Crag also offers fantastic views of the lake.
The lack of a road up the valley does meant that Ennerdale isn't quite a good a walking base as it could be. Most of the fells on the northern side of the valley are best approached from the Buttermere side anyway, while the Ennerdale approaches to Pillar or Great Gable require a long walk along the forestry road.
Although Ennerdale valley is known for its conifer plantations, these only touch the north-eastern corner of the lake, where they form an interesting backdrop to a series of picnic areas that jut out into the lake. The woods on the southern side of the lake are a rare example of the native
Ennerdale was once the site of bitter battles between loves of the lakes and the water companies. The water level in the lake has been artificially raised by a small dam, and at one time plans were in place for a dramatic further increase in water levels and extraction. These plans reached such an advanced stage that the Angler's Hotel, at the western end of the lake, was demolished, but the plans were defeated in 1978 and the unique nature of the valley is now recognised. Wild Ennerdale, a partnership between the National Trust, United Utilities and the Forestry Commission, now exists, and its aims are
'To develop Ennerdale Valley as a unique wild place allowing natural forces to become more dominant in the shaping of the landscape and the ecology and therefore providing an inspirational visitor experience and special conservation habitats'