UK drought: Lake at Harewood House in Yorkshire dries up for first time in 300 years

The lake in the grounds of Harewood House has completely dried up for the first time in its history.

The lake, which covers 32 acres on the Lascelles family's ancestral estate between Leeds and Harrogate, was sunk in the 1770s when the gardens were landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. There are no records of it ever having dried up naturally before (although it has been deliberately drained for maintenance in the past), but the drought summer of 2022 has left it completely devoid of water.

The ferry service that usually runs on the lake has had to be suspended and it unlikely to run again until 2023.

Water levels first began to drop in May.

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The Harewood House Trust said: "In May, the water level in the lake started to decrease due to low rainfall throughout winter and spring. In June the water level reached a point where the ferry ran aground and could no longer run. The mud banking you can see around the lake has not been seen since the lake was last drained many decades ago.

"Unless the weather for the remaining half of the year features a consistent and heavy amount of rain, it is unlikely that the water level will reach a point where we can operate the ferry again until 2023.

"Harewood House Trust and the Harewood Estate are working with the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council to ensure the health and wellbeing of Harewood’s wildlife that rely on the lake. The Trust and estate are also looking at the lake’s infrastructure to help plan and mitigate against the impact of climate change, including prolonged periods of dry weather.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

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