To most people who know Great Urswick in modern times this picture will be recognised as the car park to The Coot on the Tarn Restaurant, seen on the right.  This was the location of the agricultural buildings of a former farm and the car park area seen in the photograph was a farm yard created by infilling a pond known as Gilpin's Pond.  This initial infilling took place in the second half of the nineteenth century and later additional infilling elevated the ground to the present level of the car park.  The water inflowing to Gilpin's Pond came from springs rising from limestone geology below, and the pond drained via a short beck to nearby Urswick Tarn.  The manner in which the relationship between Gilpin's Pond and the main marl tarn evolved since the last ice age can not be determined easily on account of the infill material over the area preventing coring by other than industrial scale plant.  Given that the marl bench of Urswick Tarn has been verified on both sides of this site, the possibility must be considered that it extends beneath at least some parts, and possibly all of the site.  The rising ground water which once filled the pond now makes its presence felt as recurring flooding  that extend to and covers the adjacent main road passing through the village of Great Urswick.  Marl tarns and their marl benches are rare and the characteristics of this aspect of Urswick Tarn has been drawn to the attention of the local planning authority.

Back to top