|ounty of Northwest England, created in 1974 from Cumberland,
Westmorland, the Furness district of Northwest Lancashire, and the Sedbergh district of
Cumbria County Council - Carlisle City Council - Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council
|owns and cities
(administrative headquarters), Barrow, Kendal, Penrith, Whitehaven, Workington
Cumbrian towns host markets and Alston claims to be the highest market town in England.
||6,810 sq. km / 2,629 sq. miles
Cumbria is dominated by the Cumbrian Mountains - known as the Lake District and very
popular with tourists from all over the world for the picturesque villages and wonderful
Cumbria is divided into six districts, which are (from north to south):
Carlisle, the city and its surrounding area up to the border with Scotland; Allerdale, the
Northwest coastal lowland with the coastal towns of Maryport and Workington, and the
inland towns of Cockermouth and Keswick; Eden, from Helvellyn to the boundary in the
Pennines with Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire; Copeland, the western valleys
and coastlands, including Whitehaven; South Lakeland, stretching from Grasmere and
Ambleside to the shores of Morecambe Bay; and Barrow-in-Furness, which covers the town and
neighbouring Dalton-in-Furness. Barrow, Carlisle, and Copeland have been given the status
Scafell Pike (978 m
/ 3,210 ft), the highest mountain in England, is surrounded by many other mountains such
as Bow Fell and Great Gable (899 m / 2,949 ft) which are very popular with climbers,
walkers and ramblers. It is separated from Scafell (964 m / 3,164 ft) by a ridge called
The summit of Scafell Pike was presented to the National Trust by the third Lord
Leconfield, as a war memorial, in 1919. Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England (17
km / 10.5 miles long, 1.6 km / 1 miles wide), and other lakes (Derwentwater, Grasmere,
Haweswater, Ullswater). The rivers Eden and Derwent flow through the county as does the M6
motorway, which runs north to south.
traditional coal, iron, and steel industries of the coast towns have been replaced by
newer industries including chemicals, plastics, marine engineering, electronics, and
shipbuilding (at Barrow-in-Furness, nuclear submarines and warships); tourism; salmon
Agriculture: in the north and east there is dairy farming; sheep are also reared; the West
Cumberland Farmers is England's largest agricultural cooperative. Permission was granted
in 1992 to build fifteen 24 m / 80 ft high wind generators; nuclear power stations at
Calder Hall (1956) and Sellafield (formerly Windscale, the first to produce plutonium in
the United Kingdom); British Nuclear Fuels' THORP nuclear reprocessing plant began
||Thomas de Quincey; Beatrix Potter; John Ruskin's home, Brantwood, on
Coniston Water; homes of Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Keswick; birthplace
Wordsworth at Cockermouth, and home at Grasmere; Stan Laurel was born at Ulverston
Kirkby Lonsdale, set on a hill above the River Lune, is one of the most beautiful towns in
For walkers and hill climbers there are some classic peaks to climb, some of the better
known being, The Old Man of Coniston, Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Great Gable and England's
highest point, Scafell Pike.
Alston, which is the highest market town in England.
Lake District National Park
Although known as the Lake
District, the area is a s popular for its mountains as it is for its lakes. The Lake
District contains the principal English lakes, separated by wild uplands rising to many
peaks, including Scafell Pike,
the highest peak in England. The area was made a national park in 1951, covering 2,292 sq.
km / 882 sq. miles. There are many routes for climbing England's highest peak, some
difficult and some relatively easy to the experienced walker.
Helvellyn (950 m / 3,118 ft). The summit is the highest point of the
ridge which separates the the valleys containing Thirlemere and Ullswater lakes. The peak
may be climbed from Wythburn at the head of Thirlemere on the western side, and from
Patterdale or Glenridding on Ullswater to the east. Two sharp ridges, Striding Edge and
Swirrell Edge, on the east side, provide more challenging routes. Helvellyn forms part of
an annual Three Peaks charity event held in the Lake District; the other peaks are Skiddaw
(930 m / 3,052 ft) and Scafell Pike. The summit of Helvellyn is amazingly flat and the
approach via Striding Edge is spectacular with the ground falling away steeply on both
Water, and some other smaller lakes are managed as reservoirs for some of
England's major conurbation's, including Manchester. The Lake District has a radial system
of valleys, deepened by glaciers. Windermere, in the Southeast, is connected with Rydal
Water and Grasmere. The westerly Scafell range extends south to the Old Man of Coniston
overlooking Coniston Water, and north to Wastwater.
Ullswater lies in the Northeast of the district, on the east side of Helvellyn peak, with
Hawes Water and Thirlmere nearby. The River Derwent flows north through Borrowdale forming
Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite. West of Borrowdale lie Buttermere, Crummock Water, and,
beyond, Ennerdale Water. Woodland includes broadleaf species, partly naturally occurring;
and the plantations (mainly coniferous) of the Forestry Commission. Much of the scenery is
relatively wild and very attractive.
The main tourist centres
are Windermere, Keswick, Ambleside and Grasmere. There are 100 Sites of Special Scientific
Interest, and 82 regionally important geological or geomorphological sites, making the
area of enormous conservation interest. There are also nearly 2,000 listed buildings. Much
of the land in the area is owned by the National Trust, and the National Park owns 8,600
ha / 3,481 acres of the land under their jurisdiction.
Grizedale Forest sculpture project; Furness peninsula; western part of Hadrian's Wall.
Cumbria's varied history is reflected in its historic remains, which include barrows,
stone circles, the western section of Hadrian's Wall, and a number of castles. In the 7th
century it was part of Northumbria. In the 10th and 11th centuries it alternated between
Scottish and English rule, until taken by the English in 1157.
Grasmere is associated with many writers. William Wordsworth and his sister
Dorothy lived at Dove Cottage (now a museum) 1799-1808, Thomas de Quincey later made his
home in the same house, and both Samuel Coleridge and Wordsworth are buried in the
churchyard of St Oswald's.
has a length of 8 km / 5 miles and a width of 1 km / 0.6 miles, which makes it one of the
smaller lakes in the area. The village of Coniston lies 14 km / 9 miles west of Bowness,
between the lake and Coniston Old Man, which is 802 m / 2631 ft high.
Donald Campbell died while attempting to improve his world water-speed record on Coniston
Water in 1967.
Peel Island, one of three small islands on the lake, is the `Wild Cat Islandī of Arthur
Ransome's novel Swallows and Amazons (1931). Brantwood, once the home of John Ruskin,
stands above the eastern shore of Coniston Water. Ruskin is buried in Coniston churchyard.