The PENNINES /ˈpɛnaɪnz/ , also known as the PENNINE CHAIN or
PENNINE HILLS, are a range of mountains and hills in Northern England
North West England from
North East England .
Often described as the "backbone of England", the Pennine Hills
form a more-or-less continuous range stretching northwards from the
Peak District in the north Midlands , into the South Pennines
incorporating parts of
Greater Manchester ,
Yorkshire Dales and
North Pennines past the Cumbrian Fells
up to the Tyne Gap, which separates the range from the
Cheviot Hills .
North of the
Aire Gap , the Pennines' western spur into North
Lancashire forms the
Bowland Fells which are also considered separate
from the Pennines, and south of the gap is a spur into east
Lancashire, comprising the Rossendale Fells and
West Pennine Moors .
Pennines are an important water catchment area with numerous
reservoirs in the head streams of the river valleys.
The region is widely considered to be one of the most scenic areas of
the United Kingdom. The
North Pennines and
Nidderdale are designated
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as are Bowland and Pendle
Hill . Parts of the
Pennines are incorporated into the Peak District
National Park , the
Yorkshire Dales National Park and the
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park . Britain's oldest long-distance
footpath , the
Pennine Way , runs along most of the Pennine Chain and
is 268 miles (429 km) long.
The Cheviot Hills, separated by the Tyne Gap and the
Whin Sill ,
along which run the A69 and Hadrian\'s Wall , are not part of the
Pennines but, perhaps because the
Pennine Way crosses them, they are
often treated as such. As a result, the northern end of the Pennines
may be considered to be either at the Tyne Gap or the Cheviot Hill
fringes on the
Anglo-Scottish border . Conversely the southern end of
Pennines is commonly said to be in the High Peak of
Edale , the start of the Pennine Way. However, hills continue towards
Stoke-on-Trent area in northern
Staffordshire and into eastern,
southern and western parts of
* 1 Name
* 2 Geography and geology
* 2.1 Elevation
* 2.2 Drainage
* 2.3 Climate
* 2.4 Character areas
* 3 History
* 4 Demography
* 5 Economy
* 6 Transport
* 7 National Parks and AONBs
* 8 Language
* 9 Folklore and customs
* 10 Flora
* 11 Fauna
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 External links
Stanage Edge in the
Various etymologies have been proposed treating "Pennine" as though
it were a native Brittonic /Modern Welsh name related to pen- ("head")
. In fact, it did not become a common name until the 18th century and
almost certainly derives from modern comparisons with the Apennine
Mountains , which run down the middle of
Italy in a similar fashion.
Following an 1853 article by
Arthur Hussey , it has become a common
belief that the name derives from a passage in The Description of
Britain (Latin : De Situ Britanniæ), an infamous historical forgery
Charles Bertram in the 1740s and accepted as genuine
until the 1840s. In 2004, George Redmonds reassessed this, finding
that numerous respected writers passed over the origin of the
mountains' name in silence even in works dedicated to the topological
Lancashire . He found that the derivation
from Bertram was widely believed and considered uncomfortable. In
fact, he found repeated comparisons going back at least as early as
Camden , many of whose placenames and ideas Bertram incorporated into
his work. Bertram was responsible (at most) with popularizing the name
against other contenders such as
Daniel Defoe 's "English Andes". His
own form of the name was the "Pennine Alps" (Alpes Peninos), which
today is used for a western section of the continental
Alps . Those
mountains derive their name from the Latin
Alpes Pœninæ , the St
Bernard Pass whose name has been variously derived from the
Carthaginians , a local god, and Celtic peninus. This was also the
pass used in the invasions of
Italy by the Gallic
390 BC. The etymology of the
Apennines themselves—whose name first
referred to their northern extremity and then later spread
southward—is also disputed but is usually taken to derive from some
form of Celtic pen or ben ("mountain, head").
Various towns and geographical features within the
Celtic names, including Penrith , the fell
Pen-y-ghent , the River
Eden , and the area of
Cumbria . More commonly, local names result
Anglo-Saxon and Norse settlements. In
Cumbria, many words of Norse origin, not commonly used in standard
English, are part of everyday speech: for example, gill/ghyll (narrow
steep valley), beck (brook or stream), fell (hill), and dale (valley).
GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY
Limestone scenery: Thor\'s Cave , Staffordshire, from the
Limestone is common in the
White Peak and Yorkshire
Dales, making those areas distinct from other parts of the Pennines.
The northern Pennine range is bordered by the Eden Valley , foothills
Lake District and the other Cumbrian Fells in the north west,
the Tyne Gap,
Anglo-Scottish border and
Cheviot Hills in the north,
the lowlands , ridges and coastlines of
Northumberland , Tyne and Wear
County Durham in the north east. This is located within eastern
Cumbria , southern parts of Northumberland, and western parts
Yorkshire and County Durham. The western side borders the West
Lancashire Coastal Plain ,
Lancashire Coalfield , the Mersey Valley ,
Cheshire Plain within eastern parts of
Cheshire and northern
and eastern parts of
Lancashire and the Greater Manchester
conurbation. The eastern side borders the vales of Mowbray and York ,
and the low-lying ridges of the South
Yorkshire Coalfield and Southern
Limestone (including the
Misk Hills of Nottinghamshire)
leading to the
Humberhead Levels , the
Sherwood Forest , and the lower
valley of the
River Trent . This is within western parts of Yorkshire
and eastern parts of
Derbyshire with foothills also continuing into
western parts of
Nottinghamshire . The southern extent of the range is
bordered by the Needwood the higher ground is uncultivable and
barely fit for pasture.
Most of the Pennine landscape is characterised by upland areas of
high moorland indented by more fertile river valleys, although the
landscape varies in different areas. The
Peak District consists of
hilly plateaus cut by river valleys and gorges in the White Peak, and
moorlands, plateaus, edges and uplands in the
Dark Peak and South
West Peak. The moorlands of the
Dark Peak extend into the South
Pennines which consist of hilly landscape and narrow valleys between
the Peak District,
Forest of Bowland and
Yorkshire Dales. Bowland is
dominated by a central upland landform of deeply incised gritstone
fells covered with tracts of heather-covered peat moorland and blanket
bog . The lower slopes of the fells are dotted with stone-built farms
and small villages and are criss-crossed by drystone walls enclosing
reclaimed moorland pasture. Steep-sided wooded valleys link the upland
and lowland landscapes. In the northeast of the area are extensive
coniferous plantations and the eastern limestone areas support
high-quality species-rich meadows. The landscape becomes higher and
more mountainous at the
Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines. The
Yorkshire Dales are characterised by moorlands, river valleys, hills,
fells and mountain peaks while the
North Pennines consist of high
upland plateaus, moorlands, fells, edges and valleys with most of the
area containing flat topped hills while the higher peaks are in the
Rising less than 3,000 feet, the
Pennines are often referred to as
fells. The highest is Cross
Fell in eastern Cumbria, at 2,930 feet
(893 m), while other principal peaks at the
North Pennines include
Fell 2,782 ft (848 m), Mickle
Fell 2,585 ft (788 m), and
Burnhope Seat 2,451 ft (747 m). Principal peaks at the
Whernside 2,415 ft (736 m),
Ingleborough 2,372 ft (723 m),
High Seat 2,328 ft (710 m) and Wild Boar
Fell 2,324 ft (708 m), both
Mallerstang , and
Pen-y-ghent 2,274 ft (693 m). Principal peaks at
Forest of Bowland include Ward\'s Stone 1,841 ft (561 m), Fair
Fell 1,710 ft (521 m), and Hawthornthwaite
Fell 1,572 ft (479
m). Principal peaks at the
South Pennines and
Peak District include
Kinder Scout 2,087 ft (636 m) and
Bleaklow 2,077 ft (633 m) in
Black Chew Head 1,778 ft (542 m) in
Greater Manchester ,
Hill 1,496 ft (456 m).
Kinder Downfall , a waterfall on Kinder Scout,
For much of their length the
Pennines form the main watershed in
northern England, dividing east and west. The rivers Eden , Ribble ,
Dane and tributaries of the Mersey (including the Irwell , Tame and
Goyt ) flow westwards towards the
Irish Sea . On the eastern side of
the watershed, the rivers Tyne , Tees , Wear , Swale , Ure , Nidd ,
Wharfe , Aire , Calder and Don rise in the region and flow eastwards
North Sea . The
River Trent , however, rises on the western
side of the
Pennines before flowing around the southern end of the
range and up the eastern side; together with its tributaries
(principally the Dove and Derwent ) it thus drains both east and west
sides of the southern end to the North Sea.
Map of British Isles climatic zones. The
Pennines are classified
as zones 7 and 8, with 8 being milder areas and 7 being colder areas.
The Pennine climate is generally temperate like that of the rest of
England, but the hills have more precipitation, stronger winds and
colder weather than the surrounding areas. Some areas could be
Oceanic climate verging on
Subarctic climate and a small
Teesdale is classified as subarctic. More snow falls on the
Pennines than on surrounding lowland areas due to the elevation and
distance from the coast; unlike lowland areas of England, the Pennines
can have quite severe winters.
The northwest is amongst the wettest regions of England and much of
the rain falls on the Pennines. The eastern side is drier than the
west—the rain shadow shields northeast England from rainfall that
would otherwise fall there.
Precipitation is important for the area's biodiversity and human
population. Many towns and cities are located along rivers flowing
from the hills and in northwest England the lack of natural aquifers
is compensated for by reservoirs.
Water has carved out gorges, caves and limestone landscapes in the
Yorkshire Dales and Peak District. In some areas precipitation has
contributed to poor soils, resulting in part in moorland landscapes
that characterize much of the range. In other areas where the soil has
not been degraded, it has resulted in lush vegetation.
Pennines are in climate zones 7 and 8: zone 8 is common
throughout most of the UK and zone 7 is the UK's coldest climatic
zone. The Pennines,
Scottish Highlands ,
Southern Uplands and
Snowdonia are the only areas of the UK in zone 7.
CLIMATE DATA FOR GREAT DUN FELL, NORTH PENNINES (848 M) 1981–2010
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
Pennine National Character Areas
England has been divided into areas of similar landscape character.
Originally called joint character areas, the national character areas
are a widely recognised national spatial framework, but their
boundaries are not precise and should be considered as broad zones of
National character areas are:
* Border Moors and Forests
* Tyne Gap and Hadrian\'s Wall
Bowland Fells the Bowland Fringe and Pendle
South Pennines , including the
West Pennine Moors
* South West Peak
Fell , Forest of Bowland.
A prehistoric settlement on Harkerside Moor in
The area contains many
Bronze Age settlements, and evidence of
Neolithic settlement (including many stone circles or henges , such as
Long Meg and Her Daughters
Long Meg and Her Daughters ).
Pennines were controlled by the tribal federation of the
Brigantes , made up of mainly small tribes who inhabited the area and
cooperated on defence and external affairs. The
Brigantes evolved an
early form of kingdom. During Roman times , the
dominated by the Romans who exploited the
Pennines for their natural
resources including the wild animals found there.
Pennines were a major obstacle for
westwards, although it appears the
Anglo-Saxons travelled through the
valleys. During the Dark Ages the
Pennines were controlled by Celtic
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It is believed that the north
under the control of the kingdom of
During Norse times the
Pennines were settled by
Viking Danes in the
east and Norwegian Vikings in the west. The Vikings influenced place
names, culture and genetics. When England was unified the Pennines
were incorporated into it. Their mixture of Celtic,
Viking heritage resembled much of the rest of northern England and its
culture developed alongside its lowland neighbours in northwest and
northeast England. The
Pennines were not a distinct political polity ,
but were divided between neighbouring counties in northeast and
northwest England; a major part was in the West Riding of
The Pennine region is sparsely populated by English standards. Larger
population centres adjoin the southern Pennine range and the Peak
District, such as
Chesterfield , Halifax ,
Huddersfield , Macclesfield
Rochdale , but most of the northern Pennine range is
thinly populated. The cities of
Leeds , Manchester
Wakefield lie in the foothills and
lowlands fringing the range.
The main economic activities include sheep farming , quarrying ,
finance and tourism .
Pennines are traversed by several passes, mostly aligned
with major rivers.
Gaps that allow west–east communication across the
the Tyne Gap between the
Pennines and the Cheviots, through which the
A69 road and Tyne Valley railway link Carlisle and Newcastle upon Tyne
A66 road , its summit at 1,450 feet (440 m), follows the course
of a Roman road from
Scotch Corner to Penrith through the Stainmore
Gap between the Eden Valley in
Teesdale in County Durham.
Aire Gap links
Yorkshire via the valleys of the
Aire and Ribble . Other high-level roads include
Buttertubs Pass ,
named from limestone potholes near its 1,729-foot (527 m) summit,
Swaledale and the
A684 road from
Garsdale Head which reaches 1,100 feet (340 m).
Further south the
A58 road traverses the
Calder Valley between West
Greater Manchester reaching 1,282 feet (391 m) between
Ripponden , while the
A646 road along the Calder
Burnley and Halifax reaches 764 feet (233 m) following
valley floors. In the
South Pennines the A628 Woodhead road links the
M67 motorway in
Greater Manchester with the
M1 motorway in South
Holme Moss is crossed by the
A6024 road , whose highest
point is near
Holme Moss transmitting station between
Pennines are traversed by the
M62 motorway , the highest motorway
in England at 1,221 feet (372 m) on Windy
Hill near Junction 23.
Three trans-Pennine canals built during the Industrial Revolution
cross the range:
Huddersfield Narrow Canal connects
Huddersfield in the east
Manchester in the west. When it reaches Marsden , it passes
underneath the hills through the Standedge Tunnel to Diggle .
Fortnightly during the summer season, one can pass through the tunnel
on a public narrowboat.
Rochdale Canal crosses the
Rochdale , connecting
the market town of
Sowerby Bridge with Manchester.
Liverpool Canal , the longest and most northerly of
the three, crosses the
Skipton , Burnley,
Leeds in the east with
Liverpool in the west.
The eastern portal of Woodhead 3 shortly before opening in 1954
A train in
British Rail blue about to enter the western portal
of Woodhead 3, shortly before closure in 1981 Photograph from
1953, showing the western portals of Woodhead 1 it was the first of
several trans-Pennine tunnels including the Standedge and Totley
tunnels, which are only slightly longer.
The first two tunnels were replaced by Woodhead 3, which was longer
than the other two at 3 miles 66 yards (4860m). It was bored purposely
for the overhead electrification of the route and completed in 1953.
The tunnel was opened by the then transport minister Alan Lennox-Boyd
on 3 June 1954. It was designed by Sir
William Halcrow "> The
National Parks of England and Wales; three include areas of the
Pennines, those marked as 9, 7 and 1
Considerable areas of Pennine landscape are protected as UK national
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs): Northumberland
National Park (9),
Yorkshire Dales National Park (7) and the Peak
District National Park (1) and the
AONB . Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty are afforded much the same protection as
National Parks. England, Wales and Northern Ireland AONBs. The
Pennines host two, with a large one protecting the North Pennines.
AONB just north of the
Yorkshire Dales rivals the
National Park in size and includes some of the Pennines' highest peaks
and some of its most isolated and sparsely populated areas. Nidderdale
AONB east of the
Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the Bowland
Fells , including Pendle
Hill , is an
AONB west of the Yorkshire
The language used in pre-Roman and Roman times was British . During
Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages , the
Cumbric language developed. Little
evidence of Cumbric remains, so it is difficult to ascertain whether
or not it was distinct from Old Welsh . The extent of the region in
which Cumbric was spoken is also unknown.
Anglo-Saxon times the area was settled by Anglian peoples of
Northumbria , rather than the
Saxon people of Southern
England . Celtic speech remained in most areas of the
than it did in the surrounding areas of England. Eventually, the
Celtic tongue of the
Pennines was replaced by early English as
Anglo-Saxons and Vikings settled the area and assimilated the Celts.
In Norse times,
Viking settlers brought their languages of Old Norse,
Old Danish (mainly in the
Yorkshire Dales and parts of the Peak
Old Norwegian (mainly in the western Pennines). With the
eventual consolidation of England by the Saxon kingdom of
Wessex , the
pure Norse speech died out in England, though it survived in the
Pennines longer than in most areas. However, the fusion of Norse and
Old English was important in the formation of
Middle English and hence
Modern English, and many individual words of Norse descent remain in
use in local dialects, such as that of
Yorkshire , and in local place
FOLKLORE AND CUSTOMS
The folklore and customs are mostly based on Celtic ,
Viking customs and folklore. Many customs and stories have their
origin in Christianised pagan traditions. In the Peak District, a
notable custom is well dressing , which has its origin in pagan
traditions that became Christianised.
Flora in the
Pennines is adapted to moorland and subarctic landscapes
and climates. The flora found there can be found in other areas of
Northern Europe and some species are also found in areas
of tundra .
In the Pennine millstone grit areas above an altitude of 900 feet
(270 m) the topsoil is so acidic, pH 2 to 4, that it can grow only
bracken , heather , sphagnum , and coarse grasses such as cottongrass
, purple moor grass and heath rush .
Ice age glacial sheets retreated c. 11,500 BC trees returned
and archaeological palynology can identify their species. The first
trees to settle were willow, birch and juniper, followed later by
alder and pine. By 6500 BC temperatures were warmer and woodlands
covered 90% of the dales with mostly pine, elm, lime and oak. On the
limestone soils the oak was slower to colonize and pine and birch
predominated. Around 3000 BC a noticeable decline in tree pollen
indicates that neolithic farmers were clearing woodland to increase
grazing for domestic livestock, and studies at Linton Mires and Eshton
Tarn find an increase in grassland species.
On poorly drained impermeable areas of millstone grit, shale or clays
the topsoil gets waterlogged in winter and spring. Here tree
suppression combined with the heavier rainfall results in blanket bog
up to 7 ft (2 m) thick. The erosion of peat still exposes stumps of
"In digging it away they frequently find vast fir trees, perfectly
sound, and some oaks ..." — Arthur Young , A Six Months' Tour of
the North of England (1771)
Conifers have now been widely replanted as a cheap source of wood,
especially around areas such as
Kielder Forest .
Shooting of red grouse is an economically important activity in
Fauna in the
Pennines is similar to the rest of England and Wales ,
but the area hosts some specialised species. Deer are found throughout
Pennines and some species of animals that are rare elsewhere in
England can be found here. Arctic hares , which were common in Britain
during the Ice Age and retreated to the cooler, more tundra-like
uplands once the climate warmed up, were introduced to the Dark Peak
area of the
Peak District in the 19th century.
Large areas of heather moorland in the
Pennines are managed for
driven shooting of wild red grouse . The related and declining black
grouse is still found in northern parts of the Pennines. Other birds
whose English breeding strongholds are in the
Pennines include golden
plover , snipe , curlew , dunlin , merlin , short-eared owl , ring
ouzel and twite , though many of these are at the southern limit of
their distributions and are more common in Scotland.
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