There’s a giant maple tree on the quayside at Waterhead on the northern shores of Lake Windermere. Waterhead is the most northerly ferry stop on this, England’s biggest lake. Boats from Waterhead link the town of Ambleside to Bowness and Lakeside at the southern tip of the lake.

We call it ‘Maple Quay’ though it has no official name. In the autumn, the tree is so beautiful that visitors to Lake Windermere take the ferry from Bowness with it on their agenda for the typical ‘flying visit’. The fact that it is only a short distance from the ferry point makes it a must-see.

The busy Lakeland town of Ambleside

Many don’t realise that the town of Ambleside – one of the most popular in the Lakes – is a thirty minute walk further north from ‘its’ ferry point, though there is an ancient looking bus to transport those who don’t wish to, or can’t walk. For these folks, who typically have less than an hour to spend at Waterhead, the famous maple is a key part of their time spent here in the Autumn.

The two photos of a tourist map of Lake Windermere show the location of the lake’s towns.

Above: the northern half of Lake Windermere

When I took the photograph, last Sunday, an American visitor was balanced, precariously, on a concrete fence post across the road – risking life and limb to get a good shot of the tree and, the lake and the hills beyond.

The tree was planted over 40 years ago, and occupies a beautiful position halfway between the ferry pier and the ruins of the Roman fort. The stonework around its base has been progressively improved.

Above: some travel the entire length of Lake Windermere from Lakeside, the southernmost ferry point. There is even a steam train connection to provide a full day out…

For us, the Autumn is not complete without a visit to ‘Maple Quay’.

The ‘Maple Quay’ tree will feature in the Silent Eye’s May 2023 weekend: ‘The Waters of Life’, a mystical journey based on the landscapes around Lake Windermere and several crossings of the lake, itself…

Contact us on: for details.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

4 Comments on “Maple Quay

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