Lake Walk provides a breathtaking setting with the most gorgeous seasonal hues, which are enhanced by the reflections on the water.
The 38 acre lake, the brainchild of William Waldorf Astor, was excavated and constructed by 800 men who were contracted in December 1904 to “carry on the works regularly and continuously by day and night (except on Sundays) when so ordered”. They completed the work in two years! The lake was filled in July 1906, and sixteen acre island was created at this time.
Starting at the Edwardian boat house, the walk away from the loggia provides stunning views with well established trees. You can have a rest and reflect over the lake and loggia or continue on exploring to the bridge at Splashes.
On the walk you can enjoy wildlife such as: reed birds, the great crested grebe, green woodpecker, herons and kingfisher amongst many other species. You’ll pass the historic pillboxes, which formed part of an extensive system of defence built in 1940 to counter the threat of invasion; there are three closely together on lake walk as the River Eden was considered a key crossing point. You’ll also pass over the waterfall which looks spectacular at this time of year, surrounded by rich autumn leaves.
On the second half of the walk, as you pass Millennium Fountain and the re-constructed Japanese Tea House, you can enjoy wonderful views over the lake and loggia. Soon after you are met by Chestnut Avenue.This feature of the walk is remnant of the original long avenue planted 1904-1908 designed to lie on the same axis as the Long Gallery in the Castle. The avenue started from the side of the outer moat and ran the whole length of Sixteen Acre Island and beyond. The avenue suffered extensive damage from the ‘Great Storm’ of October 1987, but regardless it still looks wonderful.
At this point you can head back to the gardens and Moat Restaurant for a warm drink, or perhaps keep on exploring along Anne Boleyn’s walk.