Semer Water

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Find a trail - visit the official visitor site for Yorkshire

Opening Times:

All year round


Car parking charges:
Cars: up to 2 hours - £1; between 2 and 5 hours - £1.50; all day - £2.00.
Motorcycles and scooters - 50p
Tickets available from Low Blean Farm

Venue contact details:

T: 01969 650436
W: Lake Semerwater

Semer Water

Turner visited Semer Water, the largest natural lake in North Yorkshire, on 26 July 1816 when making illustrations for 'A General History of the County of York' by Thomas Dunham Whitaker.

Turner travelled over the Stake Pass route from Upper Wharfedale to Askrigg, stopping at Semer Water on the way.  He was alone, on horseback, and travelling in one of the wettest summers on meteorological record.  It may have been a wet summer, but Turner's spirits were not dampened at all.  He revelled in the ever changing and vital effects of light and atmosphere that the season constantly provided.

Picnic siteWheelchair accessDogs accepted

Turner's Viewpoint

Turner's main subject was the view over the lake from its north end, looking over the famous Carlow Stone towards the high fells of Raydale.  He made a careful pencil sketch and developed that into one of his finest finished watercolours (Simmer Lake, near Askrigg, The British Museum, Wilton number: 571).

Legend has it that the stone fell short when the Devil tried to throw it from Addlebrough to Crag End.  It may be that Turner knew this story, since a cow lying next to the stone perhaps insinuates a certain loucheness to the Devil's character. However that may be, Turner's principal interest was in the fantastic effects of sunlight lancing through cloud over the distant mountains.  The site is remarkably unchanged, although the water is actually clearer today.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench is situated above Semer Water, on the edge of Countersett, at the crossroads between Marsett Lane and Crag Side Road.

Semer Water Trail

Download our 10 mile walking trail and enjoy exploring Semer Water which Turner visited during his 1816 grand tour of Yorkshire, where you'll also discover a stone thrown by the Devil.  For experienced walkers only.

Water in Turner's Yorkshire

Download our themed leaflet and let the rivers and waterfalls guide you around Turner's Yorkshire as water literally flows through many of his sketches and paintings.

The Venue


Semer Water, Near Countersett, North Yorkshire, DL8 3DD

Map reference: SD919878

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Directions to Semer Water:

Leave the A684 Leyburn-Hawes road at Bainbridge (signposted Semer Water, Stalling Busk or Countersett) and follow for 2.5 miles SW of Bainbridge to the crossroads in Countersett (leading to Marsett, Bainbridge, Hawes and Semer Water)