Intermediate stops are made at Bowness and, by smaller launches only, at Brockhole.
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The station was built in an area of open fell and farmland in the township of Applethwaite.
The nearest farm was Birthwaite, which gave its name to the station and the village that began to grow up near it.
Windermere railway station is a hub for train and bus connections to the surrounding areas and is miles (2 km) from the Waterbus jetty.
There is a regular train service to Oxenholme on the West Coast Main Line, where there are fast trains to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester Airport, Birmingham and London. By far the largest is the privately owned Belle Isle (16.18 hectares, 40.0 acres) opposite Bowness and around a kilometre in length.
There is debate as to whether the stretch of water between Newby Bridge and Lakeside at the southern end of the lake should be considered part of Windermere, or a navigable stretch of the River Leven.
This affects the stated length of the lake, which is 18.08 km (11.23 mi) long if measured from the bridge at Newby Bridge, There is only one town or village directly on the lakeshore, Bowness-on-Windermere, as the village of Windermere does not directly touch the lake and the centre of Ambleside is one mile (1.6 km) to the north of Waterhead.The Freshwater Biological Association was established on the shore of Windermere in 1929 and much of the early work on lake ecology, freshwater biology and limnology was conducted here.Before 1974, the lake lay wholly within the county of Westmorland; however, the historic county boundary between Lancashire and Westmorland ran down the western shore of the lake and also along about three miles (5 km) of the southern section of the eastern shore.Most planning matters concerned with the lake are, however, the responsibility of the Lake District National Park Authority.Passenger services operate along the whole length of the lake, from Lakeside railway station, on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite heritage steam railway at the southern end of the lake, to Waterhead Bay near Ambleside in the north.Anyone crossing the lake from east to west on the Windermere Ferry thus travels from the historic county of Westmorland to that of Lancashire.