[Ice Age Village]The idyllic Yorkshire wild swimming spot said to be ‘the gateway to Hell’

  At the foot of Whitestone Cliff, encircled by trees, lies one of only four natural lakes in Yorkshire.

  Gormire Lake – also known as the White Mere – was formed by glacial erosion over 20,000 years ago, making it a remnant of the last Ice Age.

  It lies around 1.2 miles east of the village of Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe, in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, whose residents are sure to be aware of the numerous myths shrouding the idyllic spot.

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  Gormire roughly translates as 'filthy swamp', but that has not stopped the lake becoming a go-to choice for plenty of wild swimmers.

  The lake in North York Moors National Park has no inflow or major outflow of water and is thought to be fed by an underground spring.

  But that fact was not known hundreds of years ago, when the lake's existence seemed to have no simple explanation.

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  It is that sense of mystery, along with the lake's dark appearance, that has led to it becoming the setting for numerous myths. Perhaps the most extreme of these is that Gormire Lake is actually “the gateway to Hell”.

  The lake is also said to be bottomless and it is even rumoured that a submerged underwater village lies beneath its surface.

  Gormire Lake has previously been named in The Times' 20 best natural swimming locations across the UK.

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