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 the early 19th century writings of
William Wordsworth and the other
Lake Poets ,
Beatrix Potter and John
Ruskin . Covering an area of approximately 2,362 square kilometres,
the region was designated as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
It is located entirely within the county of
Cumbria , and all the
England higher than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level lies
within the National Park, including
Scafell Pike , the highest
mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest bodies
of water in England, respectively
Wast Water and
Lake District National Park
* 2 Human geography
* 2.1 General
* 2.2 Settlement
* 2.3 Communications
* 2.3.1 Roads
* 2.3.2 Railways and ferries
* 2.3.3 Footpaths and bridleways
* 3 Physical geography
* 3.1 Valleys
* 3.2 Woodlands
* 3.3.1 Northern
* 3.3.2 North Western
* 3.3.3 Western
* 3.3.4 Central
* 3.3.5 Eastern
* 3.3.6 Far Eastern
* 3.3.7 Southern
* 3.3.8 Southeastern area
* 3.4 Lakes
* 4 Geology
* 5 Climate
* 6 Wildlife
* 7 Economy
* 7.1 Agriculture and forestry
* 7.2 Industry
* 7.3 Development of tourism
* 7.4 Gastronomy
* 8 Literature and art
* 9 Nomenclature
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK
Lake District National Park (shown as number 2) in a map of
national parks in
England and Wales.
The LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK includes nearly all of the Lake
District, though the town of
Kendal and the Lakeland Peninsulas are
currently 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
Wales , and the second largest in the UK after the
Cairngorms . 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
* Individual farmers and other private landowners, with more than
half of the agricultural land farmed by the owners.
* The National Trust owns about a quarter of the total area
(including some lakes and land of significant landscape value).
* The Forestry Commission and other investors in forests and
United Utilities owns 8%
Lake District National Park Authority (3.9%) 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
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
and settlement 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
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 location of the
Lake District, shown in white, within
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.
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 ,
Ambleside , and
Windermere being the four largest. Significant towns
immediately outside the boundary of the national park include
Cockermouth , Penrith , and
Grange-over-Sands ; each of these has important economic links with
the area. Villages such as Coniston ,
Glenridding , Pooley
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
A591 road as it passes through the countryside between
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
Kendal to Penrith (though the extension approved in 2015 will be
east of the A6). The A590 which connects the M6 to
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
Windermere and then on
to Keswick. It continues up the east side of Bassenthwaite
Lake . "The
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
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
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,
Railways And Ferries
West Coast Main Line skirts the eastern edge of the
Cumbrian Coast Line passes through the southern and western
fringes of the area. A single railway line, the
Windermere Branch Line
, penetrates from
Windermere via Staveley. Railways once
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 narrow gauge
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
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
Haverthwaite , and tourists can connect at Lakeside with the boats up
the lake to Bowness.
A vehicle-carrying cable ferry , the
Windermere Ferry , runs frequent
services across Windermere. There are also seasonal passenger boats on
Derwent Water and Ullswater.
Footpaths And Bridleways
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 .
A panorama from the summit of
Scafell Pike, August 2007
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
The mountains of the
Lake District are also known as the "Cumbrian
Mountains", although this name is less frequently used than terms like
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. Panorama of the
descending into Wastwater, the deepest lake in England.
_ The Tongue Valley (looking from Dollywaggon Pike_)
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
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
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 impressive bulk of the
Scafell massif, the highest ground in
England, seen over
Wasdale . SCAFELL PIKE SCAFELL
SCAFELL HELVELLYN SKIDDAW High Street
Coniston Old Man
Coniston Old Man
Kendal Penrith Keswick
Grasmere SOME MAJOR
FELLS AND TOWNS See also: list of fells in the
Lake District and
list of hills in the
The four highest mountains in the
Lake District exceed 3,000 feet
(910 m). These are:
Scafell Pike , 978 m (3,209 ft)
Scafell , 965 m (3,166 ft)
Helvellyn , 951 m (3,120 ft)
Skiddaw , 931 m (3,054 ft)
Fells are a clearly defined range of hills contained
within a 13 km (8 mi) diameter circle between Keswick in the south
Caldbeck in the north east. They culminate in the 931 m
(3,054 ft) peak of
Skiddaw . Other notable peaks are
known as Saddleback) (868 m (2,848 ft)) and Carrock
Lake occupies the valley between this massif and the
North Western Fells.
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
Fells above the
Newlands Valley and hills to the north amongst
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 view from the cairn built by the
Westmorland brothers in
1876 to the SW of the summit of Great Gable, which they considered the
finest view in the district.
Fells lie between
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
Fells in the far north west, the Pillar group in the south
Great Gable (899 m (2,949 ft)) near Sty Head. Other tops
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.
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
the east, from Keswick in the north to
Langdale Pikes in the south. A
spur extends south east to Loughrigg
Ambleside . The
central ridge running north over High Seat is exceptionally boggy.
The village of
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 .
Far Eastern Fells
Haweswater Reservoir from Harter
The Far Eastern
Fells refer to all of the Lakeland fells to the east
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
Shap Fell, an extensive
area consisting of high moorland , more rolling and Pennine in nature
than the mountains to the west.
Coniston Water from Holme
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
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)
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 ,
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
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
the long ridge leading over
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
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
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
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.
Morecambe Bay stand at the eastern
and southern edges of the area.
Derwent Water, one of 21 large water bodies in the Lake
District See also: List of lakes in the
mere Coniston Crummock Derwent
Water Elterwater Ennerdale Esthwaite
Rydal Water THIRLMERE ULLSWATER
WASTWATER WINDERMERE Major lakes
Only one of the lakes in the
Lake District is called by that name,
Lake . All the others such as
Windermere , Coniston
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.
Geological map of Cumberland, by William Smith (1824)
Skiddaw seen from
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
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-
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
The central band is a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of
Ordovician age comprising the lavas and tuffs of the
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
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
Later intrusions have formed individual outcrops of igneous rock in
each of these groups. Around the edges of these
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 .
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 .
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
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
CLIMATE DATA FOR KESWICK, LAKE DISTRICT
AVERAGE HIGH °C
AVERAGE LOW °C
AVERAGE RAINFALL MM
AVERAGE HIGH °F
AVERAGE LOW °F
AVERAGE RAINFALL INCHES
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS
Road warning signals for red squirrels ; the
Lake District is
one of the few places in
England where red squirrels have a sizeable
population. A wild
Fell pony on the fells , native to North
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 ).
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
Lake District for the first time in over 150 years near
Lake during 2001. Ospreys now frequently migrate north
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. _ The vendace
Coregonus vandesius _) is England's rarest species of fish, and is
found only in the
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
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.
AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
Forestry operations on Harter
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
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
United Kingdom in 2001. The outbreak started in
February, but had spread to
Cumbria by end of March. Thousands of
sheep, include 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
Herdwick in the district, however these
fears have been allayed and sheep now occupy the district in
Herdwick grazing above
Forestry has also assumed greater importance over the course of the
last century with the establishment of extensive conifer plantations
Whinlatter Pass , in Ennerdale and at
Grizedale Forest amongst
other places. There are extensive plantations of non-native pine
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 . A typical Lake
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
DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM
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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
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.
Daniel Defoe published the first volume of _A Tour Thro' the
Whole Island of Great Britain_. He commented on
Westmorland that it
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. Claife Station on the western shore of
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
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
The railways led to another expansion in tourism. The
Windermere Railway was the first to penetrate the
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 ,
Derwent Water . A steamer on
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
Lake District National Park in 1951 recognised the need to protect
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.
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.
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 .
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
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.
LITERATURE AND ART
Ullswater painted by John Parker 1825
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
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
very near to them are the remains of
Hartley Coleridge (son of the
Samuel Taylor Coleridge ), who himself lived for many years in
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
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
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.
Percy Bysshe Shelley ,
Sir Walter Scott , Nathaniel
Arthur Hugh Clough ,
Henry Crabb Robinson , "Conversation"
Thomas Carlyle ,
John Keats , Lord Tennyson ,
Matthew Arnold ,
Felicia Hemans , and
Gerald Massey .
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
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.
The Lakes has been an inspirations for many notable artists. Some of
the most famous artists to depict the region in their work have been
Alfred Heaton Cooper and
William Heaton Cooper .
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.
Lake District has been the setting for crime novels by Reginald
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
The Tale of One Bad Rat by
Bryan Talbot featured a young
girl’s journey to and subsequent stay in 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.
Ken Russell lived in the Keswick/
Borrowdale area until
2007 and used it in films such as _Tommy _ and _Mahler _.
Lake District is the setting for the 1977
Richard Adams novel
The Plague Dogs _. Adams' knowledge of the area offers the reader a
precise view of the natural beauty of the
Some students of
Arthurian lore identify the
Lake District with the
Grail kingdom of
Keswick School of Industrial Art at Keswick was started by
Canon Rawnsley , a friend of
John Ruskin .
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:
Fell – from
Old Norse _fjallr_, brought to
England by Viking
invaders and close to modern Norwegian _fjell_ and Swedish _fjäll_
* Howe – place name from the
Old Norse _haugr_ meaning hill,
knoll, or mound
* Tarn – a word that has been taken to mean a small lake situated
in a corrie (the local name for which is _cove_), a local phrase for
any small pool of water. The word is derived from the
Old Norse ,
Norwegian and Swedish word _tjern/tjärn_, meaning small lake.
Yan tan tethera – the name for a system of sheep counting which
was traditionally used in the
Lake District. Though now rare, it is
still used by some and taught in local schools.
* Heaf (a variant of heft) – the "home territory" of a flock of
* North West
* Geology of
* Geology of the
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