English Lake District


                                                       View from Kirkstone Pass

The Lake District is located in Cumbria, an enclave tucked away in North West England, just south of the border with Scotland. The area boasts a strong Scandinavian heritage as a consequence of immigration by Norwegian Vikings over one thousand years ago. Most of the Lake District comprises a National Park covering 885 square miles (500,000 acres) extending to about 30 miles (48km) in diameter. Resident population of the Lake District is about 42,000 but in the course of a year visitor numbers total about 12.0M reflecting the popularity of the hills and lakes. This rich natural beauty attracted famous literary identities including Arthur Ransome, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. There are some 18 principal lakes of which Windermere and Coniston Water are most prominent.

                                                            Lake Windermere

To a degree, the Lake District is similar to the Scottish Highlands as manifested in the rugged scenery comprising lakes and mountains with the latter reaching over 3000 feet, e.g. Scafell Pike (3210ft.), Scafell (3162ft.), Helvellyn (3053ft.) and Skiddaw (3053ft.). Note that “fell” means hill or mountain and “pike” means summit of a ridge. The main lakes are Windermere, Ullswater, Coniston, Bassenthwaite, Thirlmere (a reservoir), Haweswater (a reservoir), Derwentwater,Crummock Water, Wastwater, Ennerdale, Esthwaite, Buttermere, Loweswater, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Brother’s Water, Elterwater and Tarn Hows (man made). The lakes vary between 0.5 miles and 10.5 miles in length and between 70feet and 219 feet in depth.



                                                                    Coniston Water

Within the background of the stunning scenery which has inspired much literature and poetry there is a wide range of visitor attractions and activities as summarised below.

Historic Houses and Gardens:  Acorn Bank Garden & Watermill (near Penrith), Fell Foot Park (Lake Windermere), Hill Top, (former home of Beatrix Potter near Hawkshead), Sizergh Castle and Garden (near Kendal), Townend  (near Ambleside), Wordsworth House (Cockermouth), Holker Hall and Gardens (Grange-over-Sands), Dalemain (near Penrith), Levens Hall (near Kendal), Mirehouse (Keswick), Holehird Gardens (Windermere) and Muncaster Castle (Ravenglass)

                                                                     Muncaster Castle

Steam Travel: Steam Yacht Gondola (Coniston Water), Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway and Ravendale & Eskdale Railway.


                                                                  Ravendale & Eskdale Railway.

Beatrix Potter: Famous children’s author who farmed extensively in the Lake District. Places associated with Beatriux Potter including Tarn Hows (a small lake once owned by B.P.), Beatrix Potter Museum (Hawkshead) and Hill Top (former home of Beatrix Potter containing many original features from her occupation).

                                                                Beatrix Potter

William Wordsworth: Famous English poet who lived 1770-1850. Places associated with Wordsworth include Dove Cottage, (Grasmere) and Rydal Mount (near Ambleside), both being former homes of the poet.

                                                                         Dove Cottage

Prehistory:Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick dates to around 3200BC and may represent one of the earliest stone circles in Europe. Of the original 42 stones 38 survive in what is a stunning location at the heart of the Lake District. Just a few miles away in the Langdales was a Neolithic stone axe industry using locally mined epidotised tuff.


                                                                         Castlerigg Stone Circle

The Romans in the Lake District:Hadrian's Wall is situated to the north of the lakes. Key sites in the area include Hardknott Roman Fort or Mediobocdum (near Boot), Roman bathhouse (part of a fort) at Ravenglass, fort at Waterhead (Ambleside) and Senhouse Museum and Fort at Maryport or Alauna.

                                                          Hardknott Roman Fort

Video clip of Eskdale viewed from Hardknott

Walking: The Lake District is a mecca for ramblers and hikers of all fitness levels. There are trails everywhere including from and around such popular locations as Ambleside, Borrowdale, Bowness, Braithwaite, Coniston, Crummock Water, Buttermere, Eskdale, Grasmere, Howtown, Kendal, Keswick, Wasdale Head, Ennerdale, Greater Langdale, Kentmere, Newlands Valley and Helvellyn.

                                                                         S.W. Lake District

Wildlife: There is a wide variety of native flora and fauna in the Lake District plus wild ospreys which nest and breed on the shores of Bassenthwaite and can be viewed from a special platform.

Adventure Course: ‘Go Ape’ at Whinlatter Forest Park allows visitors to reverse evolution and swing high in the trees using rope bridges, swings and zip slides. Strictly for the fit and adventurous!

                                                                      Zip Wire

Rock Climbing: The Lake District is a superb nursery for aspiring rock climbers and mountaineers supported by a deep pool of instructor talent.

Local Food: A wide choice in the Lakes including sticky toffee pudding in Cartmel, Kennedy’s home made chocolate in Penrith, Richard Woodall’s Cumberland sausages from Waberthwaite and Allerdale goats’ cheese from Thursby.

Cycling: Ideal for both road touring and off-road mountain biking. Whinlatter Forest Park has great facilities for the mountain biker.


Photography in the Lake District: Opportunities everywhere in particular Tarn Hows, Coniston Water, Ashness Bridge, Surprise View and Castlerigg Stone Circle.

                                                                    Ashness Bridge



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