Lake District


Lake District
The Skiddaw massif, town of Keswick and Derwent Water seen from Walla Crag.
Panoramic view over Eskdale from Ill Crag. Harter Fell and Hard Knott can be seen, also a small tarn.

The Lake District, also commonly known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes and its mountains (or fells) but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets.

The majority of the area was designated as the Lake District National Park in 1951. It is the largest of the thirteen National Parks in England and Wales, and the second largest in the UK (after the Cairngorms).[1] It lies entirely within the modern county of Cumbria, shared historically by the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest lakes in England.

Contents

Human Geography

General

The location of the Lake District, shown in white, within Northern England

The precise extent of the Lake District was not defined traditionally but is approximated by the boundary of the National Park, the total area of which is about 885 square miles (2,292 km2). The Park extends just over 32 miles (52 km) from east to west and nearly 40 miles (64 km) from north to south.[2]

Settlement

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 largest four. Significant towns immediately outwith the boundary of the national park include Kendal, Cockermouth, Penrith and Grange-over-Sands; each of these have important economic links with the area. Villages such as Coniston, Threlkeld, Pooley Bridge, Broughton-in-Furness, Grasmere, Newby Bridge, Staveley, Lindale, Gosforth and Hawkshead act as more local centres. The economies of almost all are intimately linked with tourism. Beyond these are a scatter of hamlets and innumerable isolated farmsteads, some of which are still tied to agriculture, others now function as part of the tourist economy.[3]

Communications

Roads

The Lake District is almost contained within a box of trunk routes. It is flanked to the east by the M6 motorway (which carries most of the traffic that would once have used the A6 road which runs from Kendal to Penrith). The A590 and 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 northwestwards from Kendal to Windermere and then on to Keswick. It continues up the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake. 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 of those 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 latter connects with the former two by way of the Wrynose and Hardknott passes respectively. 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 is Longsleddale and the valleys at Haweswater and Kentmere. There are intricate networks of minor roads in the lower-lying southern part of the area connecting numerous communities between Kendal, Windermere and Coniston.[4]

Railways and ferries

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 line, the Windermere Branch Line, penetrates from Kendal to Windermere via Staveley. Lines once served Broughton-in-Furness and Coniston and another ran from Penrith to Cockermouth via Keswick but each of these was abandoned in the 1960’s. The track of the latter has been adopted in part for use by the improved A66 trunk road.

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 the two villages encompassed within its name, tourists being able to connect with the Windermere passenger ferry at Lakeside.

A vehicle-carrying cable ferry, the Windermere Ferry runs frequent services across Windermere. There are also seasonal passenger ferries on Coniston Water, Derwent Water and Ullswater.

Physical geography

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-shape 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 in character, whilst moorland predominates at lower altitude. 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 Grisedale Forest in the generally lower southern part of the area.

Valleys

The principal radial valleys are (clockwise from the south) those of 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 serve to 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;

Hills (Fells)

The four highest mountains in the Lake District each exceed 3000ft (914m). These are;

There are numerous mountains over 2500ft (762m) - various lists of Lake District peaks may be found at list of fells in the Lake District and the list of hills in the Lake District.

The impressive bulk of the Scafell massif, the highest ground in England, seen over Wasdale.

Northern Fells

The Northern Fells are a readily defined range of hills contained within a 13km diameter circle between Keswick in the southwest and Caldbeck in the northeast. They culminate in the 931m (3054ft) peak of Skiddaw. Other notable peaks are those of Blencathra (a.k.a. Saddleback) (868m / 2848ft) and Carrock Fell. Bassenthwaite 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 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 852m (2795ft), 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.

Western Fells

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 (2,949 feet / 899 metres) 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.

Central Fells

The Central Fells are lower in elevation than surrounding areas of fell, peaking at 762m (2500ft) 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 southeast to Loughrigg Fell above Ambleside. The central ridge running north over High Seat is exceptionally boggy.

Eastern Fells

The Eastern Fells consist of a long north-to-south ridge—the Helvellyn range, running from Clough Head to Seat Sandal with the 3,118-foot (950 m) 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

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.

Southern Fells

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 3,209 feet (978 m) and Scafell one mile (1.6 km) to the south-west. Though it is slightly lower it has a 700-foot (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 darined 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 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 south-western Lake District ends near the Furness peninsula.

South Eastern area

The south-eastern 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 333m 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.

Lakes

Boats on Ullswater

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.

More lakes, tarns and reservoirs can be found on the list of lakes in the Lake District.

Geology

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 southwest to northeast. Generally speaking the rocks become younger from northwest to southeast. The northwestern 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. These rocks give rise to the craggy landscapes typical of the central fells.

The southeastern 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. [5][6]

Climate

The Lake District's location on the north west coast of England, coupled with its mountainous geography, makes it the dampest part of England. The UK Met Office reports average annual precipitation of more than 2,000 millimetres (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. Lake District has relief rainfall. Seathwaite in Borrowdale is the wettest inhabited place in England with an average of 3,300 millimetres (130 in) of rain a year,[7] while nearby Sprinkling Tarn is even wetter, recording over 5,000 millimetres (200 in) per year; by contrast, Keswick, at the end of Borrowdale receives 1,470 millimetres (60 in) per year, and Penrith (just outside the Lake District) only 870 millimetres (30 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.

The Lake District is also windy, although sheltered valleys experience gales on an average of five days a year. In contrast, the coastal areas have 20 days of gales; while the fell tops may have 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 °C to 19 °C/14 °F 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.

Wildlife

The area is home to a plethora of wildlife, some of which is unique in England. It provides a home for the red squirrel and colonies of sundew and butterwort, two of the few carnivorous plants native to Britain. 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.[8]

Near Blencathra Field Centre in the Lake District

The lakes of the Lake District support three rare and endangered species of fish: the vendace, which can be found only in Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water, 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 only found in the Lake District.
University of Newcastle upon Tyne PGCE students on a ecological training course at Blencathra Field Centre in the Lake District

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.

Economy

Agriculture and Forestry

Forestry operations on Harter Fell

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. Thousands of sheep, grazing 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 re-learnt 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".

A Herdwick grazing above Thirlmere.

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.


Industry

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 century to the 19th century. 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 fell-sides throughout the district. The locally mined graphite led to the development of the pencil industry, especially around Keswick.

A typical Lake District scene

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.

Development of tourism

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.[1]

In 1724, Daniel Defoe published the first volume of A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain. He commented on Westmorland that it was:

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 Father Thomas West produced A Guide to the Lakes, which began the era of modern tourism.

Claife Station on the western shore of Windermere

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 of 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.

A steamer on Ullswater

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 Lakes, 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 the Lakes by the publication of the Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright. First published between 1952 and 1965, these books provided detailed information on 214 peaks 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 are being revised by Chris Jesty to reflect changes, mainly in valley access and paths.[2]

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[9] 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 over-used 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.

Literature and art

The Lake District is intimately associated with English literature in 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, 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, 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 a number 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 twentieth 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.

Film director Ken Russell lived in the Keswick/Borrowdale area until 2007[10] and used it in films such as Tommy and Mahler.

Some students of Arthurian lore identify the Lake District with the Grail kingdom of Listeneise.

The former Keswick School of Industrial Art at Keswick was started by Canon Rawnsley, a friend of John Ruskin.

Nomenclature

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 meaning mountain
  • 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, a local phrase for any small pool of water. The word is derived from the Old Norse and Norwegian word tjærn
  • 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 sheep.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Lake District National Park – Home page". Lakedistrict.gov.uk. 6 April 2005. http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  2. ^ OS 1:50,000 scale mapping
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale Landranger map sheets 89, 90, 96 & 97
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale Landranger map sheets 89, 90, 96 & 97
  5. ^ British Geological Survey Regional memoir Northern England 5th edn 2010
  6. ^ http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/factsheet_geology.pdf
  7. ^ met office report
  8. ^ The RSPB: Golden eagle: Population trends
  9. ^ "Desintations: Lake District". BBC\. 27 January 2005. Archived from the original on 31 January 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050127144348/www.bbc.co.uk/holiday/destinations/lake_district_cartmel/. 
  10. ^ "Coombe Cottage". Thelakedistrict.info. 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090218052207/http://www.thelakedistrict.info/2008/11/coombe-cottage.html. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 

Further reading

  • Hollingsworth, S. '"The Geology of the Lake District: a review", Proc. Geologists Assoc., 65 (Part 4) 1954
  • Moseley, F. Geology of the Lake District, Yorkshire Geologic
  • Lake District Tours, A Collection of Travel Writings and Guide Books in the Romantic Era in 6 vols., edited by Tomoya Oda, Eureka Press, 2008.

External links

Coordinates: 54°30′N 3°10′W / 54.5°N 3.167°W / 54.5; -3.167


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lake District — Lake Dis|trict the Lake District an area in northwest England famous for its beautiful lakes and mountains and visited by many tourists. The highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, is in the Lake District, and the area is connected in people s …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Lake District — or Lake Country lake & mountain region in Cumbria county, NW England: see CUMBERLAND, WESTMORLAND, LANCASHIRE …   English World dictionary

  • Lake District —   [ leɪk dɪstrɪkt], Seengebiet in England, Cumbrian Mountains …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Lake District — ► NOUN ▪ a region of lakes and mountains in Cumbria …   English terms dictionary

  • Lake District — Panorama von Keswick im Lake District Der Lake District (deutsch Seebezirk, geografisch gleichbedeutend mit den Cumbrian Mountains) ist einer von vierzehn Nationalparks des Vereinigten Königreichs. Die eindrucksvolle Seen und Berglandschaft… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lake District — 54°30′N 3°10′W / 54.5, 3.167 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lake District — a mountainous region in NW England containing many lakes: tourist center. Also called Lake Country. Cf. Lake Poets. * * * Mountainous region, administrative county of Cumbria, northwestern England. Roughly coextensive with Lake District National… …   Universalium

  • Lake District — Lake′ Dis trict n. geg a mountainous region in NW England containing many lakes. Also called Lake′ Coun try …   From formal English to slang

  • Lake District — noun a popular tourist area in northwestern England including England s largest lake and highest mountain • Syn: ↑Lakeland • Instance Hypernyms: ↑district, ↑territory, ↑territorial dominion, ↑dominion • Part Holonyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • LAKE DISTRICT —    a district in Cumberland and Westmorland, 20 m. long by 25 m. broad, abounding in lakes, environed with scenery of rare beauty, and much frequented by tourists …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia


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