The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets and also with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin. The National Park was established in 1951 and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
The Lake District is located entirely within the county of Cumbria. All the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and largest natural lakes in England, Wast Water and Windermere respectively.
|Area||2,362 km2 (912 sq mi)|
|Established||9 May 1951|
|Governing body||Lake District National Park Authority|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Criteria||Cultural: ii, v, vi|
|Inscription||2017 (41st Session)|
The Lake District National Park includes all of the central Lake District, though the town of Kendal, some coastal areas, and the Lakeland Peninsulas are outside the park boundary.
The area was designated a national park on 9 May 1951 (less than a month after the first UK national park designation — the Peak District). It retained its original boundaries until 2016 when it was extended by 3% in the direction of the Yorkshire Dales National Park to incorporate areas such as land of high landscape value in the Lune Valley.
It is the most visited national park in the United Kingdom with 15.8 million annual visitors and more than 23 million annual day visits, the largest of the thirteen national parks in England and Wales, and the second largest in the UK after the Cairngorms National Park. Its aim is to protect the landscape by restricting unwelcome change by industry or commerce. Most of the land in the park is in private ownership, with about 55% registered as agricultural land. Landowners include:
The National Park Authority is based at offices in Kendal. It runs a visitor centre on Windermere at a former country house called Brockhole, Coniston Boating Centre, and Information Centres. It is reducing its landholding.
In common with all other national parks in England, there is no restriction on entry to, or movement within the park along public routes, but access to cultivated land is usually restricted to public footpaths, bridleways and byways. Much of the uncultivated land has statutory open access rights, which cover around 50% of the park.
The lakes and mountains combine to form impressive scenery. Farmland, settlement and mining have altered the natural scenery, and the ecology has been modified by human influence for millennia and includes important wildlife habitats. Having failed in a previous attempt to gain World Heritage status as a natural World Heritage Site, because of human activities, it was eventually successful in the category of cultural landscape and was awarded the status in 2017.
The precise extent of the Lake District was not defined traditionally, but is slightly larger than that of the National Park, the total area of which is about 912 square miles (2,362 km2). The park extends just over 32 miles (51 km) from east to west and nearly 40 miles (64 km) from north to south, with areas such as the Lake District Peninsulas to the south lying outside the National Park.
The Lake District is one of the most highly populated national parks. There are, however, only a handful of major settlements within this mountainous area, the towns of Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside, and Bowness-on-Windermere being the four largest. Significant towns immediately outside the boundary of the national park include Millom, Barrow-in-Furness, Kendal, Ulverston, Dalton-in-Furness, Cockermouth, Penrith, and Grange-over-Sands; each of these has important economic links with the area. Villages such as Coniston, Threlkeld, Glenridding, Pooley Bridge, Broughton-in-Furness, Grasmere, Newby Bridge, Staveley, Lindale, Gosforth and Hawkshead are more local centres. The economies of almost all are intimately linked with tourism. Beyond these are a scattering of hamlets and many isolated farmsteads, some of which are still tied to agriculture; others now function as part of the tourist economy.
The Lake District National Park is almost contained within a box of trunk routes. It is flanked to the east by the A6 road which runs from Kendal to Penrith (though the extension approved in 2015 is east of the A6). The A590 which connects the M6 to Barrow-in-Furness, and the A5092 trunk roads cut across its southern fringes and the A66 trunk road between Penrith and Workington cuts across its northern edge. Finally the A595 trunk road runs through the coastal plains to the west of the area, linking the A66 with the A5092.
Besides these, a few A roads penetrate the area itself, notably the A591 which runs north-westwards from Kendal to Windermere and then on to Keswick. It continues up the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake. "The A591, Grasmere, Lake District" was short-listed in the 2011 Google Street View awards in the Most Romantic Street category. The A593 and A5084 link the Ambleside and Coniston areas with the A590 to the south whilst the A592 and A5074 similarly link Windermere with the A590. The A592 also continues northwards from Windermere to Ullswater and Penrith by way of the Kirkstone Pass.
Some valleys which are not penetrated by A roads are served by B roads. The B5289 serves Lorton Vale and Buttermere and links via the Honister Pass with Borrowdale. The B5292 ascends the Whinlatter Pass from Lorton Vale before dropping down to Braithwaite near Keswick. The B5322 serves the valley of St John's in the Vale whilst Great Langdale is served by the B5343. Other valleys such as Little Langdale, Eskdale and Dunnerdale are served by minor roads. The last of these is connected with the first two by the Wrynose and Hardknott passes respectively; both of these passes are known for their steep gradients and are together one of the most popular climbs in the United Kingdom for cycling enthusiasts. A minor road through the Newlands Valley connects via Newlands Hause with the B5289 at Buttermere. Wasdale is served by a cul-de-sac minor road, as are Longsleddale and the valleys at Haweswater and Kentmere. There are networks of minor roads in the lower-lying southern part of the area, connecting numerous communities between Kendal, Windermere and Coniston.
The West Coast Main Line skirts the eastern edge of the Lake District and the Cumbrian Coast Line passes through the southern and western fringes of the area. A single railway line, the Windermere Branch Line, penetrates from Kendal to Windermere via Staveley. Railways once served Broughton-in-Furness and Coniston (closed to passengers in 1958) and another ran from Penrith to Cockermouth via Keswick (closed west of Keswick in 1966 and completely in 1972). Part of the track of the latter is used by the improved A66 trunk road.
The Cumbrian Coast line has three stations within the boundaries of the national park (and additionally Drigg, about a third of a mile from the park boundary). The line gives railway enthusiasts and others a flavour of a pre-Beeching railway line, with features like manually operated level crossing gates, as well as giving a good connection to the steam railway into Eskdale and providing access for cyclists and serious walkers to the Western Fells.
The narrow gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway runs from Ravenglass on the west coast up Eskdale as far as Dalegarth Station near the hamlet of Boot, catering for tourists. Another heritage railway, the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, runs between Lake Windermere and Haverthwaite, and tourists can connect at Lakeside with the boats up the lake to Bowness.
There are many paths over which the public has a right of way, all of which should be signposted. Within the area of the National Park in 2012 there were 2,159 km (1,342 mi) of public footpaths, 875 km (544 mi) of public bridleways, 15 km (9 mi) of restricted byways and 30 km (19 mi) of byways open to all traffic. There is also a general "right to roam" in open country.
Many of these tracks arose centuries ago and were used either as ridge highways (such as along High Street) or as passes for travelling across the ridges between settlements in the valleys. Historically these paths were not planned for reaching summits, but more recently they are used by fell walkers for that purpose.
Cycling and horse riding are allowed on bridleways, but cyclists must give way to all other users. Motor vehicles are only allowed on "byways open to all traffic" (green lanes) but in practice Traffic Regulation Orders have been brought in on several prohibiting motor traffic, although a system of permits operates on Gatesgarth Pass.
As the highest ground in England, Scafell Pike naturally has a very extensive view on a clear day, ranging from the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland to Snowdonia in Wales. The Lake District takes the form of a roughly circular upland massif deeply dissected by a broadly radial pattern of major valleys whose character is largely the product of repeated glaciations over the last 2 million years. Most of these valleys display the U-shaped cross-section characteristic of glacial origin, and often contain elongate lakes occupying sizeable bedrock hollows, often with tracts of relatively flat ground at their heads. Smaller lakes known as tarns occupy glacial cirques at higher elevations. It is the abundance of both which has led to the area becoming known as the Lake District.
The mountains of the Lake District are also known as the "Cumbrian Mountains", although this name is less frequently used than terms like "the Lake District" or "the Lakeland Fells". Many of the higher fells are rocky, while moorland predominates at lower altitudes. Vegetation cover across better drained areas includes bracken and heather, though much of the land is boggy, due to the high rainfall. Deciduous native woodland occurs on many steeper slopes below the tree line, but with native oak supplemented by extensive conifer plantations in many areas, particularly Grizedale Forest in the generally lower southern part of the area.
The principal radial valleys are (clockwise from the south) Dunnerdale, Eskdale, Wasdale, Ennerdale, Lorton Vale and the Buttermere valley, the Derwent Valley and Borrowdale, the valleys containing Ullswater and Haweswater, Longsleddale, the Kentmere valley and those radiating from the head of Windermere including Great Langdale. The valleys break the mountains up into separate blocks, which have been described by various authors in different ways. The most frequently encountered approach is that made popular by Alfred Wainwright who published seven separate area guides to the Lakeland Fells.
Below the tree line are wooded areas, including British and European native oak woodlands and introduced softwood plantations. The woodlands provide habitats for native English wildlife. The native red squirrel is found in the Lake District and in a few other parts of England. In parts of the Lake District the rainfall is higher than in any other part of England. This gives Atlantic mosses, ferns, lichen, and liverworts the chance to grow. There is some ancient woodland in the National Park. Management of the woodlands varies: some are coppiced, some pollarded, some left to grow naturally, and some provide grazing and shelter.
The four highest mountains in the Lake District exceed 3,000 feet (914 m). These are:
The Northern Fells are a clearly defined range of hills contained within a 13 km (8 mi) diameter circle between Keswick in the south west and Caldbeck in the north east. They culminate in the 931 m (3,054 ft) peak of Skiddaw. Other notable peaks are Blencathra (also known as Saddleback) (868 m (2,848 ft)) and Carrock Fell. Bassenthwaite Lake occupies the valley between this massif and the North Western Fells.
The North Western Fells lie between Borrowdale and Bassenthwaite Lake to the east and Buttermere and Lorton Vale to the west. Their southernmost point is at Honister Pass. This area includes the Derwent Fells above the Newlands Valley and hills to the north amongst which are Dale Head, Robinson. To the north stand Grasmoor, highest in the range at 852 m (2,795 ft), Grisedale Pike and the hills around the valley of Coledale, and in the far north west is Thornthwaite Forest and Lord's Seat. The fells in this area are rounded Skiddaw slate, with few tarns and relatively few rock faces.
The Western Fells lie between Buttermere and Wasdale, with Sty Head forming the apex of a large triangle. Ennerdale bisects the area, which consists of the High Stile ridge north of Ennerdale, the Loweswater Fells in the far north west, the Pillar group in the south west, and Great Gable (899 m (2,949 ft)) near Sty Head. Other tops include Seatallan, Haystacks and Kirk Fell. This area is craggy and steep, with the impressive pinnacle of Pillar Rock its showpiece. Wastwater, located in this part, is England's deepest lake.
The Central Fells are lower in elevation than surrounding areas of fell, peaking at 762 m (2,500 ft) at High Raise. They take the form of a ridge running between Derwent Water in the west and Thirlmere in the east, from Keswick in the north to Langdale Pikes in the south. A spur extends south east to Loughrigg Fell above Ambleside. The central ridge running north over High Seat is exceptionally boggy.
The Eastern Fells consist of a long north-to-south ridge, the Helvellyn range, running from Clough Head to Seat Sandal with the 950 m (3,118 ft) Helvellyn at its highest point. The western slopes of these summits tend to be grassy, with rocky corries and crags on the eastern side. The Fairfield group lies to the south of the range, and forms a similar pattern with towering rock faces and hidden valleys spilling into the Patterdale valley. It culminates in the height of Red Screes overlooking the Kirkstone Pass.
The Far Eastern Fells refer to all of the Lakeland fells to the east of Ullswater and the A592 road running south to Windermere. At 828 m (2,717 ft), the peak known as High Street is the highest point on a complex ridge which runs broadly north–south and overlooks the hidden valley of Haweswater to its east. In the north of this region are the lower fells of Martindale Common and Bampton Common whilst in the south are the fells overlooking the Kentmere valley. Further to the east, beyond Mardale and Longsleddale is Shap Fell, an extensive area consisting of high moorland, more rolling and Pennine in nature than the mountains to the west.
The Southern Fells occupy the southwestern quarter of the Lake District. They can be regarded as comprising a northern grouping between Wasdale, Eskdale and the two Langdale valleys, a southeastern group east of Dunnerdale and south of Little Langdale and a southwestern group bounded by Eskdale to the north and Dunnerdale to the east.
The first group includes England's highest mountains: Scafell Pike in the centre, at 978 m (3,209 ft) and Scafell one mile (1.6 km) to the southwest. Though it is slightly lower it has a 700 ft (210 m) rockface, Scafell Crag, on its northern side. It also includes the Wastwater Screes overlooking Wasdale, the Glaramara ridge overlooking Borrowdale, the three tops of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Esk Pike. The core of the area is drained by the infant River Esk. Collectively these are some of the Lake District's most rugged hillsides.
The second group, otherwise known as the Furness Fells or Coniston Fells, have as their northern boundary the steep and narrow Hardknott and Wrynose passes. The highest are Old Man of Coniston and Swirl How which slightly exceed 800 m (2,600 ft).
The third group to the west of the Duddon includes Harter Fell and the long ridge leading over Whitfell to Black Combe and the sea. The south of this region consists of lower forests and knolls, with Kirkby Moor on the southern boundary. The southwestern Lake District ends near the Furness peninsula and Barrow-in-Furness, a town which many Lake District residents rely on for basic amenities.
The southeastern area is the territory between Coniston Water and Windermere and east of Windermere towards Kendal and south to Lindale. There are no high summits in this area which is mainly low hills, knolls and limestone cuestas such as Gummer's How and Whitbarrow. Indeed, it rises only as high as 333 m (1,093 ft) at Top o' Selside east of Coniston Water; the wide expanse of Grizedale Forest stands between the two lakes. Kendal and Morecambe Bay stand at the eastern and southern edges of the area.
Only one of the lakes in the Lake District is called by that name, Bassenthwaite Lake. All the others such as Windermere, Coniston Water, Ullswater and Buttermere are meres, tarns and waters, with mere being the least common and water being the most common. The major lakes and reservoirs in the National Park are given below.
The Lake District's geology is very complex but well-studied. A granite batholith beneath the area is responsible for this upland massif, its relatively low density causing the area to be "buoyed up". The granite can be seen at the surface as the Ennerdale, Skiddaw, Carrock Fell, Eskdale and Shap granites.
Broadly speaking the area can be divided into three bands, the divisions between which run south west to north east. Generally speaking the rocks become younger from north west to south east. The north western band is composed of early to mid-Ordovician sedimentary rocks, largely mudstones and siltstones of marine origin. Together they comprise the Skiddaw Group and include the rocks traditionally known as the Skiddaw Slates. Their friability generally leads to mountains with relatively smooth slopes such as Skiddaw itself.
The central band is a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of mid-to-late Ordovician age comprising the lavas and tuffs of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, erupted as the former Iapetus Ocean was subducted beneath what is now the Scottish border during the Caledonian orogeny. The northern central peaks, such as Great Rigg, were produced by considerable lava flows. These lava eruptions were followed by a series of pyroclastic eruptions which produced a series of calderas, one of which includes present-day Scafell Pike. These pyroclastic rocks give rise to the craggy landscapes typical of the central fells.
The south eastern band comprises the mudstones and wackes of the Windermere Supergroup and which includes (successively) the rocks of the Dent, Stockdale, Tranearth, Coniston and Kendal groups. These are generally a little less resistant to erosion than the rocks sequence to the north and underlie much of the lower landscapes around Coniston and Windermere.
Later intrusions have formed individual outcrops of igneous rock in each of these groups. Around the edges of these Ordovician and Silurian rocks on the northern, eastern and southern fringes of the area is a semi-continuous outcrop of Carboniferous Limestone seen most spectacularly at places like Whitbarrow Scar and Scout Scar. 
The Lake District's location on the northwest coast of England, coupled with its mountainous geography, makes it the wettest part of England. The UK Met Office reports average annual precipitation of more than 2,000 mm (80 in), but with very large local variation.
Although the entire region receives above average rainfall, there is a wide disparity between the amount of rainfall in the western and eastern lakes, as the Lake District experiences relief rainfall. Seathwaite, Borrowdale is the wettest inhabited place in England with an average of 3,300 mm (130 in) of rain a year, while nearby Sprinkling Tarn is even wetter, recording over 5,000 mm (200 in) per year; by contrast, Keswick, at the end of Borrowdale receives 1,470 mm (58 in) every year, and Penrith (just outside the Lake District) only 870 mm (34 in). March to June tend to be the driest months, with October to January the wettest, but at low levels there is relatively little difference between months.
Although sheltered valleys experience gales on an average of only five days a year, the Lake District is generally very windy with the coastal areas having 20 days of gales, and the fell tops around 100 days of gales per year. The maritime climate means that the Lake District experiences relatively moderate temperature variations through the year. Mean temperature in the valleys ranges from about 3 °C (37 °F) in January to around 15 °C (59 °F) in July. (By comparison, Moscow, at the same latitude, ranges from −10 to 19 °C (14 to 66 °F).)
The relatively low height of most of the fells means that, while snow is expected during the winter, they can be free of snow at any time of the year. Normally, significant snow fall only occurs between November and April. On average, snow falls on Helvellyn 67 days per year. During the year, valleys typically experience 20 days with snow falling, a further 200 wet days, and 145 dry days. Hill fog is common at any time of year, and the fells average only around 2.5 hours of sunshine per day, increasing to around 4.1 hours per day on the coastal plains.
The Lake District is home to a great variety of wildlife, due to its range of varied topography, lakes and forests. It provides a home for the red squirrel and colonies of sundew and butterwort, two of the few carnivorous plants native to Britain. The Lake District is a major sanctuary for the red squirrel and has the largest population in England (out of the estimated 140,000 red squirrels in the United Kingdom, compared with about 2.5 million grey squirrels).
The Lake District is home to a range of bird species, and the RSPB maintain a reserve in Haweswater. England's only nesting pair of golden eagles can be found in the Lake District. The female golden eagle has not been seen since 2004 although the male still remains. Conservationists believe he is now the only resident golden eagle in England. Following recolonisation attempts, a pair of ospreys nested in the Lake District for the first time in over 150 years near Bassenthwaite Lake during 2001. Ospreys now frequently migrate north from Africa in the spring to nest in the Lake District, and a total of 23 chicks have fledged in The Lakes since 2001. Another bird species which has had recolonisation attempts is the red kite which, as of 2012, have a population of approximately 90 in the dense forest areas near Grizedale. Conservationists hope the reintroduction will create a large red kite population in the Lake District and in North West England where the red kite population is low. Other bird species resident to the Lake District include the buzzard, dipper, peregrine and raven. Seasonal birds include the ring ouzel and the redstart.
The lakes of the Lake District support three rare and endangered species of fish: the vendace, which can be found only in Derwent Water and until 2008 in Bassenthwaite Lake. Vendace have struggled in recent years with naturally occurring algae becoming a threat and the lakes gradually getting warmer. Vendace have been moved to higher lakes on a number of occasions to preserve the species, notably in 2005 and 2011. The Lakes are also home to two other rare species: the schelly, which lives in Brothers Water, Haweswater, Red Tarn and Ullswater, and the Arctic charr, which can be found in Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Ennerdale Water, Haweswater, Loweswater, Thirlmere, Wast Water, and Windermere.
In recent years, some important changes have been made to fisheries byelaws covering the north west region of England, to help protect some of the rarest fish species. In 2002, the Environment Agency introduced a new fisheries byelaw, banning the use of all freshwater fish as live or dead bait in 14 of the lakes in the Lake District. Anglers not complying with the new byelaw can face fines of up to £2,500. There are 14 lakes in the Lake District which are affected. These are: Bassenthwaite Lake, Brothers Water, Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Derwent Water, Ennerdale Water, Haweswater, Loweswater, Red Tarn, Thirlmere, Ullswater, Wast Water and Windermere.
The lakes and waters of the Lake District do not naturally support as many species of fish as other similar habitats in the south of the country and elsewhere in Europe. Some fish that do thrive there are particularly at risk from introduction of new species.
The introduction of non-native fish can lead to the predation of the native fish fauna or competition for food. There is also the risk of disease being introduced, which can further threaten native populations. In some cases, the introduced species can disturb the environment so much that it becomes unsuitable for particular fish. For example, a major problem has been found with ruffe. This non-native fish has now been introduced into a number of lakes in recent years. It is known that ruffe eat the eggs of vendace, which are particularly vulnerable because of their long incubation period. This means that they are susceptible to predators for up to 120 days. The eggs of other fish, for example roach, are only at risk for as little as three days.
Farming, and in particular sheep farming, has been the major industry in the region since Roman times. The breed most closely associated with the area is the tough Herdwick, with Rough Fell and Swaledale sheep also common. Sheep farming remains important both for the economy of the region and for preserving the landscape which visitors want to see. Features such as dry stone walls, for example, are there as a result of sheep farming. Some land is also used for silage and dairy farming.
The area was badly affected by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease across the United Kingdom in 2001. The outbreak started in Surrey in February, but had spread to Cumbria by end of March. Thousands of sheep, including the native Herdwicks which graze on the fellsides across the district, were destroyed. In replacing the sheep, one problem to overcome was that many of the lost sheep were heafed, that is, they knew their part of the unfenced fell and did not stray, with this knowledge being passed between generations. With all the sheep lost at once, this knowledge has to be relearnt and some of the fells have had discreet electric fences strung across them for a period of five years, to allow the sheep to "re-heaf". At the time of the outbreak, worries existed about the future of certain species of sheep such as Ryeland and Herdwick in the district, however these fears have been allayed and sheep now occupy the district in abundance.
Forestry has also assumed greater importance over the course of the last century with the establishment of extensive conifer plantations around Whinlatter Pass, in Ennerdale and at Grizedale Forest amongst other places. There are extensive plantations of non-native pine trees.
With its wealth of rock types and their abundance in the landscape, mining and quarrying have long been significant activities in the Lake District economy. In Neolithic times, the Lake District was a major source of stone axes, examples of which have been found all over Britain. The primary site, on the slopes of the Langdale Pikes, is sometimes described as a "stone axe factory" of the Langdale axe industry. Some of the earliest stone circles in Britain are connected with this industry.
Mining, particularly of copper, lead (often associated with quantities of silver), baryte, graphite and slate, was historically a major Lakeland industry, mainly from the 16th to 19th centuries. Coppiced woodland was used extensively to provide charcoal for smelting. Some mining still takes place today; for example, slate mining continues at the Honister Mines, at the top of Honister Pass. Abandoned mine workings can be found on fellsides throughout the district. The locally mined graphite led to the development of the pencil industry, especially around Keswick.
In the middle of the 19th century, half the world textile industry's bobbin supply came from the Lake District area. Over the past century, however, tourism has grown rapidly to become the area's primary source of income.
Early visitors to the Lake District, who travelled for the education and pleasure of the journey, include Celia Fiennes who in 1698 undertook a journey the length of England, including riding through Kendal and over Kirkstone Pass into Patterdale. Her experiences and impressions were published in her book Great Journey to Newcastle and Cornwall:
As I walked down at this place I was walled on both sides by those inaccessible high rocky barren hills which hang over one’s head in some places and appear very terrible; and from them springs many little currents of water from the sides and clefts which trickle down to some lower part where it runs swiftly over the stones and shelves in the way, which makes a pleasant rush and murmuring noise and like a snowball is increased by each spring trickling down on either side of those hills, and so descends into the bottoms which are a Moorish ground in which in many places the waters stand, and so form some of those Lakes as it did here.
the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England, or even Wales itself; the west side, which borders on Cumberland, is indeed bounded by a chain of almost unpassable mountains which, in the language of the country, are called fells.
Towards the end of the 18th century, the area was becoming more popular with travellers. This was partly a result of wars in Continental Europe, restricting the possibility of travel there. In 1778 Thomas West produced A Guide to the Lakes, which began the era of modern tourism.
West listed "stations", viewpoints where tourists could enjoy the best views of the landscape, being encouraged to appreciated the formal qualities of the landscape and to apply aesthetic values. At some of these stations, buildings were erected to help this process. The remains of Claife Station (on the western shore Windermere below Claife Heights) can be visited today.
William Wordsworth published his Guide to the Lakes in 1810, and by 1835 it had reached its fifth edition, now called A Guide Through the District of the Lakes in the North of England. This book was particularly influential in popularising the region. Wordsworth's favourite valley was Dunnerdale or the Duddon Valley nestling in the south west of the Lake District.
The railways led to another expansion in tourism. The Kendal and Windermere Railway was the first to penetrate the Lake District, reaching Kendal in 1846 and Windermere in 1847. The line to Coniston opened in 1848 (although until 1857 this was only linked to the national network with ferries between Fleetwood and Barrow-in-Furness); the line from Penrith through Keswick to Cockermouth in 1865; and the line to Lakeside at the foot of Windermere in 1869. The railways, built with traditional industry in mind, brought with them a huge increase in the number of visitors, thus contributing to the growth of the tourism industry. Railway services were supplemented by steamer boats on the major lakes of Ullswater, Windermere, Coniston Water, and Derwent Water.
The growth in tourist numbers continued into the age of the motor car, when railways began to be closed or run down. The formation of the Lake District National Park in 1951 recognised the need to protect the Lake District environment from excessive commercial or industrial exploitation, preserving that which visitors come to see, without any restriction on the movement of people into and around the district. The M6 Motorway helped bring traffic to the Lake District, passing up its eastern flank. The narrow roads present a challenge for traffic flow and, from the 1960s, certain areas have been very congested.
Whilst the roads and railways provided easier access to the area, many people were drawn to Lakeland by the publication of the Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright. First published between 1955 and 1966, these books provided detailed information on 214 fells across the region, with carefully hand-drawn maps and panoramas, and also stories and asides which add to the colour of the area. They are still used by many visitors to the area as guides for walking excursions, with the ultimate goal of bagging the complete list of Wainwrights. The famous guides were revised by Chris Jesty between 2005 and 2009 to reflect changes, mainly in valley access and paths, and are currently being revised by Clive Hutchby, the author of The Wainwright Companion. The first of the revised volumes, Book One: The Eastern Fells, was published in March 2015.
Since the early 1960s, the National Park Authority has employed rangers to help cope with increasing tourism and development, the first being John Wyatt, who has since written a number of guide books. He was joined two years later by a second, and since then the number of rangers has been rising.
The area has also become associated with writer Beatrix Potter. A number of tourists visit to see her family home, with particularly large numbers coming from Japan.
Tourism has now become the park's major industry, with about 12 million visitors each year, mainly from the UK's larger settlements, China, Japan, Spain, Germany and the US. Windermere Lake Steamers are Cumbria's most popular charging tourist attraction with about 1.35 million paying customers each year, and the local economy is dependent upon tourists. The negative impact of tourism has been seen, however. Soil erosion, caused by walking, is now a significant problem, with millions of pounds being spent to protect overused paths. In 2006, two tourist information centres in the National Park were closed.
Cultural tourism is becoming an increasingly important part of the wider tourist industry. The Lake District's links with a wealth of artists and writers and its strong history of providing summer theatre performances in the old Blue Box of Century Theatre are strong attractions for visiting tourists. The tradition of theatre is carried on by venues such as Theatre by the Lake in Keswick with its summer season of six plays in repertoire, Christmas and Easter productions, and the many literature, film, mountaineering, jazz and creative arts festivals, such as the Kendal Mountain Festival and the Keswick Mountain Festival.
The Lake District has been regarded as one of the best places to eat in Britain. The region has four Michelin Star restaurants: L'Enclume, The Samling in Ambleside, The Forest Side and Gilpin Hotel. In addition, Cumbria has more microbreweries than any other county in Britain and together with Jennings Brewery supply a variety of ales to pubs and restaurants throughout the region.
The Lake District is intimately associated with English literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. Thomas Gray was the first to bring the region to attention, when he wrote a journal of his Grand Tour in 1769, but it was William Wordsworth whose poems were most famous and influential. Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", inspired by the sight of daffodils on the shores of Ullswater, remains one of the most famous in the English language. Out of his long life of eighty years, sixty were spent amid its lakes and mountains, first as a schoolboy at Hawkshead, and afterwards living in Grasmere (1799–1813) and Rydal Mount (1813–50). Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey became known as the Lake Poets.
The poet and his wife lie buried in the churchyard of Grasmere and very near to them are the remains of Hartley Coleridge (son of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), who himself lived for many years in Keswick, Ambleside and Grasmere. Robert Southey, the Poet Laureate and friend of Wordsworth (who would succeed Southey as Laureate in 1843), was a resident of Keswick for forty years (1803–43), and was buried in Crosthwaite churchyard. Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived for some time in Keswick, and also with the Wordsworths at Grasmere. From 1807 to 1815 John Wilson lived at Windermere. Thomas de Quincey spent the greater part of the years 1809 to 1828 at Grasmere, in the first cottage which Wordsworth had inhabited. Ambleside, or its environs, was also the place of residence both of Thomas Arnold, who spent there the vacations of the last ten years of his life and of Harriet Martineau, who built herself a house there in 1845. At Keswick, Mrs Lynn Linton (wife of William James Linton) was born, in 1822. Brantwood, a house beside Coniston Water, was the home of John Ruskin during the last years of his life. His assistant W. G. Collingwood the author, artist and antiquarian lived nearby, and wrote Thorstein of the Mere, set in the Norse period.
In addition to these residents or natives of the Lake District, a variety of other poets and writers made visits to the Lake District or were bound by ties of friendship with those already mentioned above. These include Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Hugh Clough, Henry Crabb Robinson, "Conversation" Sharp, Thomas Carlyle, John Keats, Lord Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Felicia Hemans and Gerald Massey.
Although it is unlikely she ever went there, Letitia Elizabeth Landon produced no less than sixteen poems on subjects within the Lake District and its surroundings, all associated with engravings within Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Books, from 1832 to 1838. Also included there (1834) is Grasmere Lake (A Sketch by a Cockney), a skit on becoming a 'lakes poet'.
During the early 20th century, the children's author Beatrix Potter was in residence at Hill Top Farm, setting many of her famous Peter Rabbit books in the Lake District. Her life was made into a biopic film, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. Arthur Ransome lived in several areas of the Lake District, and set five of his Swallows and Amazons series of books, published between 1930 and 1947, in a fictionalised Lake District setting. So did Geoffrey Trease with his five Black Banner school stories (1949–56), starting with No Boats on Bannermere.
The novelist Sir Hugh Walpole lived at "Brackenburn" on the lower slopes of Catbells overlooking Derwent Water from 1924 until his death in 1941. Whilst living at "Brackenburn" he wrote The Herries Chronicle detailing the history of a fictional Cumbrian family over two centuries. The noted author and poet Norman Nicholson came from the south west lakes, living and writing about Millom in the 20th century – he was known as the last of the Lake Poets and came close to becoming the Poet Laureate.
Writer and author Melvyn Bragg was brought up in the region and has used it as the setting for some of his work, such as his novel A Time to Dance, later turned into a television drama.
The Lake District has been the setting for crime novels by Reginald Hill, Val McDermid and Martin Edwards. The region is also a recurring theme in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novella The Torrents of Spring and features prominently in Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize. The 1996 Eisner Award winning graphic novel The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot featured a young girl's journey to and subsequent stay in the Lake District.
The Lake District is mentioned in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; Elizabeth Bennet looks forward to a holiday there with her aunt and uncle and is "excessively disappointed" upon learning they cannot travel that far.
The opening of Charlotte Turner Smith's novel Ethelinde with its atmospheric description of Grasmere, complete with a Gothic abbey, is supposed to have induced Wordsworth into looking to it as a possible place of residence.
The German artist Kurt Schwitters visited the Lake District while in exile in Great Britain and moved there permanently in June 1945, remaining there for the rest of his life.
Also set in the Lake District is Sophie Jackson's mystery novel The Woman Died Thrice. It was published in 2016 under Jackson's pen name Evelyn James.
A number of words and phrases are local to the Lake District and are part of the Cumbrian dialect, though many are shared by other northern dialects. These include:
the Lake District is becoming one of the best places to eat in Britain
Helen Beatrix Potter (, US , 28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Born into an upper-class household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had numerous pets and spent holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developing a love of landscape, flora, and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted.
Though Potter was typical of women of her generation in having limited opportunities for higher education, her study and watercolours of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology. In her thirties, Potter self-published the highly successful children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Following this, Potter began writing and illustrating children's books full-time.
In all, Potter wrote thirty books; the best known being her twenty-three children's tales. With the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, in 1905 Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a village in the Lake District which at that time was in Lancashire. Over the following decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape. In 1913, at the age of 47, she married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead. Potter was also a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. She continued to write and illustrate, and to design spin-off merchandise based on her children's books for British publisher Warne, until the duties of land management and her diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue.
Potter died of pneumonia and heart disease on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at the age of 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park. Potter's books continue to sell throughout the world in many languages with her stories being retold in song, film, ballet, and animation, and her life depicted in a feature film and television film.Blencathra
Blencathra, also known as Saddleback, is one of the most northerly hills in the English Lake District. It has six separate fell tops, of which the highest is the Hallsfell Top at 2,848 feet (868 metres).Cumbria
Cumbria ( KUM-bree-ə) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is Carlisle, in the north of the county, and the only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the southwestern tip of the county.
The county of Cumbria consists of six districts (Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden, and South Lakeland) and in 2008 had a population of just under 500,000 people. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom, with 73.4 people per km2 (190/sq mi).
Cumbria is the third largest county in England by area, and is bounded to the north by the Scottish council areas of Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders, to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the southeast by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland.
Cumbria is predominantly rural and contains the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of England's finest areas of natural beauty, serving as inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians. A large area of the southeast of the county is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park while the east of the county fringes the North Pennines AONB. Much of Cumbria is mountainous, and it contains every peak in England over 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level, with Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet (978 m) being the highest point of England. An upland, coastal, and rural area, Cumbria's history is characterised by invasions, migration, and settlement, as well as battles and skirmishes between the English and the Scots. Notable historic sites in Cumbria include Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey, Hardknott Roman Fort, Brough Castle and Hadrian's Wall (also a World Heritage Site).Derwentwater
Derwentwater, or Derwent Water, is one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District National Park in north west England. It lies wholly within the Borough of Allerdale, in the county of Cumbria.
The lake occupies part of Borrowdale and lies immediately south of the town of Keswick. It is both fed and drained by the River Derwent. It measures approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long by 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and is some 72 feet (22 m) deep. There are several islands within the lake, one of which is inhabited. Derwent Island House, an 18th-century residence, is a tenanted National Trust property open to the public on five days each year.
Derwentwater is a place of considerable scenic value. It is surrounded by hills (known locally as fells), and many of the slopes facing Derwentwater are extensively wooded. A regular passenger launch operates on the lake, taking passengers between various landing stages. There are seven lakeside marinas, the most popular stops being Keswick, Portinscale and the Lodore Falls, from which boats may be hired. Recreational walking is a major tourist activity in the area and there is an extensive network of footpaths in the hills and woods surrounding the lake.
The Keswick—Borrowdale road runs along the eastern shore of the lake and carries a regular bus service. There is a lesser, or unclassified, road along the western shore connecting the villages of Grange and Portinscale.
Derwentwater gave its name to the Earldom of Derwentwater.
The lake is believed to be the last remaining native habitat of the vendace (Coregonus vandesius) fish from the four originally known sites: Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater in the Lake District, and the Castle Loch & Mill Loch in Lochmaben.Fairfield (Lake District)
Fairfield is a fell in the English Lake District. It is the highest of a group of hills in the Eastern Fells, standing to the south of the Helvellyn range.Furness
Furness ( FUR-nəs) is a peninsula and region of Cumbria in northwestern England. Together with the Cartmel Peninsula it forms North Lonsdale, historically an exclave of Lancashire.
The Furness Peninsula, also known as Low Furness, is an area of villages, agricultural land and low-lying moorland, with the industrial town of Barrow at its head. The peninsula is bordered by the estuaries of the River Duddon to the west and the River Leven in Morecambe Bay to the east. The wider region of Furness consists of the peninsula and the area known as High Furness, which is a relatively mountainous and sparsely populated part of England, extending inland into the Lake District and containing the Furness Fells. The inland boundary of the region is formed by the rivers Leven, Brathay and Duddon, and the lake of Windermere. Off the southern tip of Furness is Walney Island, eighteen kilometers in length, as well as several smaller islands.
Barrow, which developed when Furness's iron industry flourished in the 19th century, dominates the region's human geography: the surrounding borough contains three quarters of the total population of 91,563. The remainder of Furness is predominantly rural, with Ulverston the only other settlement with more than 10,000 people. Much of High Furness consists of moorland, mountain or woodland environments.Helvellyn
Helvellyn (; possible meaning: pale yellow moorland) is a mountain in the English Lake District, the highest point of the Helvellyn range, a north-south line of mountains to the north of Ambleside, between the lakes of Thirlmere and Ullswater.
Helvellyn is the third-highest point both in England and in the Lake District, and access to Helvellyn is easier than to the two higher peaks of Scafell Pike and Sca Fell. The scenery includes three deep glacial coves and two sharp-topped ridges on the eastern side (Striding Edge and Swirral Edge).
The volcanic rocks of which the mountain is made were formed in the caldera of an ancient volcano, many of them in violently explosive eruptions, about 450 million years ago during the Ordovician period. During the last ice age these rocks were carved by glaciers to create the landforms seen today.
Since the end of the last ice age, small populations of arctic-alpine plants have survived in favourable spots on rock ledges high in the eastern coves. Rare to Britain species of alpine butterfly, the mountain ringlet, also live on and around Helvellyn.
Mineral veins, some with deposits of the lead ore galena, do exist within Helvellyn's rocks, but attempts to find sufficient quantities of lead to be worth mining have not been successful.
Tourism has been a more successful industry in the area. For over two hundred years visitors have been drawn by the lake and mountain scenery of the Lake District, and many have made their way to the top of Helvellyn. Among the early visitors to Helvellyn were the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, both of whom lived nearby at one period. Many routes up the mountain are possible so that it may be approached from all directions. The view from the top is one of the most extensive over the Lake District, and on a clear day the view can also stretch from Scotland to Wales.
However, traversing the mountain is not without dangers; over the last two hundred years there have been a number of fatalities. The artist Charles Gough is more famous for his death on Striding Edge in 1805 than for what he achieved in his life.
Among many human feats upon the mountain, one of the strangest was the landing and take-off of a small aeroplane on the summit in 1926.
In January 2018 Helvellyn was named 'Britain's Best Walk'in an ITV show presented by Julia Bradbury.
Since early 2018 the summit of Helvellyn including both Striding and Swirral Edges and the wider Glenridding Common are now managed by the John Muir Trust, a wild places conservation charity under a three year lease with the Lake District Park Authority.High Street (Lake District)
High Street is a fell in the English Lake District. At 828 metres (2,718 ft), its summit is the highest point in the far eastern part of the national park. The fell is named after the Roman road which ran over the summit.Hiking
Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.Jurong Lake District
Jurong Lake District is a district of Singapore, planned as part of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s decentralisation efforts to bring more quality jobs, amenities, and recreational options closer to homes. The plans for the district have continued to evolve since the blueprint was first unveiled in the URA Master Plan 2008. It consists of three precincts, namely Jurong Gateway, Lakeside and Lakeside Gateway. It is 472 hectares (4,720,000 m2) in size and served by two major expressways and three MRT stations. It will be the Singapore's next central business district.Lake District, Edmonton
Lake District or Edmonton North is a residential area in the northeast portion of the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. It was established in 1979 through Edmonton City Council's adoption of the Edmonton North Area Structure Plan, which guides the overall development of the area.List of Nuttall mountains in England and Wales
This is a list of Nuttall mountains in England and Wales by height. Nuttalls are defined as peaks above 2,000 feet (609.6 m) in height, the general requirement to be called a "mountain" in the British Isles, and with a prominence above 15 metres (49.2 ft); a mix of imperial and metric thresholds.The Nuttall classification was suggested by Anne and John Nuttall in their 1990 two–volume book, "The Mountains of England and Wales". The list was updated with subsequent revised editions by the Nuttalls. Because of the prominence threshold of only 15 metres (49.2 ft), the list is subject to ongoing revisions. In response, Alan Dawson introduced the Hewitts, with a higher prominence threshold of 30 metres (98.4 ft). This was the prominence threshold that the UIAA set down in 1994 for an "independent" peak. In 2010, Dawson replaced his Hewitts with the fully "metric" Simms, consisting of a height threshold of 600 metres (1,968.5 ft), and a prominence threshold of 30 metres (98.4 ft). However, both the Nuttall and Hewitt classifications have become popular with peak baggers, and both remain in use, and their respective authors maintain up to date lists, as does the Database of British and Irish Hills.As of October 2018 there were 446 Nuttalls, with 257 in England and 189 in Wales. The first people registered as climbing all of the Nuttalls were Anne and John Nuttall themselves, in March 1990. A register of people who declare they have climbed all of the Nuttalls is kept by the Long Distance Walkers Association ("LWDA"); As of October 2018, it totalled 302 names. On 16 September 2017, James Forrest completed all 446 Nuttalls in six months.Pillar (Lake District)
Pillar is a mountain in the western part of the English Lake District. Situated between the valleys of Ennerdale to the north and Wasdale to the south, it is the highest point of the Pillar group (some dozen fells clustered round it). At 892 metres (2,927 feet) it is the eighth-highest mountain in the Lake District. The fell takes its name from Pillar Rock, a prominent feature on the Ennerdale side, regarded as the birthplace of rock climbing in the district.Robinson (Lake District)
Robinson is a fell in the English Lake District, its southern slopes descending to Buttermere, while its northern side is set in the Newlands Valley. Paths lead to the summit from the village of Buttermere, from the nearby summit Dale Head and from various locations in the valleys to the north.Scafell Pike
Scafell Pike or is the highest mountain in England, at an elevation of 978 metres (3,209 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Lake District National Park, in Cumbria, and is part of the Southern Fells.Skiddaw
Skiddaw is a mountain in the Lake District National Park in England. Its 931-metre (3,054 ft) summit is the sixth-highest in England. It lies just north of the town of Keswick, Cumbria, and dominates the skyline in this part of the northern lakes. It is the simplest of the Lake District mountains of this height to ascend (as there is a well-trodden tourist track from a car park to the north-east of Keswick, near the summit of Latrigg) and, as such, many walking guides recommend it to the occasional walker wishing to climb a mountain. This is the first summit of the fell running challenge known as the Bob Graham Round when undertaken in a clockwise direction.
The mountain lends its name to the surrounding areas of ‘Skiddaw Forest’, and ‘Back o' Skidda' ’ and to the isolated ‘Skiddaw House’, situated to the east, formerly a shooting lodge and subsequently a youth hostel. It also provides the name for the slate derived from that region: Skiddaw slate. Tuned percussion musical instruments or lithophones exist which are made from the slate, such as the Musical Stones of Skiddaw held at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery.Ullswater
Ullswater is the second largest lake in the English Lake District, being approximately nine miles (14.5 kilometres) long and 0.75 miles (1,200 m) wide with a maximum depth of slightly more than 60 metres (197 ft). Many regard Ullswater as the most beautiful of the English lakes; it has been compared to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland and it is a popular tourist destination. It is a typical Lake District narrow "ribbon lake" formed after the last ice age when a glacier scooped out the valley floor and when the glacier retreated, the deepened section filled with meltwater which became a lake. A total of three separate glaciers formed the lake. The surrounding mountains give Ullswater the shape of a stretched 'Z' with three distinct segments (or 'reaches') that wind their way through the surrounding hills.
For much of its length Ullswater forms the border between the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland.William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).
Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published by his wife in the year of his death, before which it was generally known as "the poem to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's poet laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850.Windermere
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial period. It has been one of the country's most popular places for holidays and summer homes since the arrival of the Kendal and Windermere Railway's branch line in 1847. Historically forming part of the border between Lancashire and Westmorland, it is now within the county of Cumbria and the Lake District National Park.
|Climate data for Keswick, Lake District|
|Average high °C||7.2||7.4||9.4||11.9||15.6||17.9||19.7||19.1||16.7||13.3||9.7||7.5||13.0|
|Average low °C||1.6||1.4||2.8||4.2||6.4||9.3||11.5||11.1||9.0||6.7||3.9||1.5||5.8|
|Average rainfall mm||169.1||119.9||127.8||81.7||79.4||84.3||88.1||104.1||126.6||189.3||177.9||173.0||1,521|
|Average high °F||45.0||45.3||48.9||53.4||60.1||64.2||67.5||66.4||62.1||55.9||49.5||45.5||55.4|
|Average low °F||34.9||34.5||37.0||39.6||43.5||48.7||52.7||52.0||48.2||44.1||39.0||34.7||42.4|
|Average rainfall inches||6.66||4.72||5.03||3.22||3.13||3.32||3.47||4.10||4.98||7.45||7.00||6.81||59.88|
|Average rainy days||16.8||13.1||15.8||12.5||12.0||12.2||12.9||14.4||13.9||17.8||17.7||17.0||176.1|
Parentheses denote year of establishment as a National Park. An area with ‡ has similar status to a UK National Park. Areas marked † are proposed.
|British Overseas Territories|