It’s difficult to imagine what this area would look like now if the events of the 1880's and 1890's hadn't taken place. The most notable difference would be two natural lakes instead of one, man made lake. These were Wythburn Water and Leathers Water. The area has always been called Thirlmere, which means "the lake with a gap". This name was probably given because of the narrow strip of land separating the two lakes.
The fate of the area was sealed when in 1879 the Manchester Corporation bought both lakes, and probably most of the valley. They were bought with the sole purpose of flooding the valley to supply the city of Manchester with water. Construction began in 1890 and lasted for four years. Resulting in a rise of the water level by 54ft (16.5m).
This area now is one of the quieter parts of the Lake District, as far as "none walking" visitors to the lakes go. For most people Thirlmere is nothing more than a route you take through the centre of the Lake District.
For walkers this area has a split in popularity. On the A591 side of the lake you have two of the main routes up to the Helvellyn range. One from Thirlspot and the other from Wythburn Church. Testimony to this clam is that during the summer months these two car parks can fill up quite early in the morning. Whereas the Armboth side of the lake is usually much less crowded. The lure of Helvellyn obviously outweighs the more gentle walks offered from the other side of the water. On one hand Helvellyn is denying many people the desire to visit places like Harrop Tarn, High Tove, and even the secluded Launchy Gill Tarn, but on the other hand, I suppose we should be grateful to Helvellyn for this, as it allows you to walk in this area without meeting more than a hand full of people.