This is England’s biggest and most visited national park. The area spans for some 885 square miles and contains within its boundaries the top eight English peaks. The entire district now lies within one county – Cumbria. Prior to the re-organising of all of our counties with the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, when the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland simply ceased to exist and Lancashire’s northern boundary lay further north, the Lake District was spread over three counties. This is still in evidence; on the Wrynose pass a stone exists which marked the meeting point of the three counties.
Once an area of mining on an industrial scale the Lake District is now mainly an area of tourism and aggriculture although there are still an handful of active quaries. Well known towns such as Keswick, Ambleside and Coniston together with the smaller villages and hamlets of the region bring in an annual total in excess of 19 million visitors per year, with the recent resurgence in English vacations this number looks set to increase whilst the recession appears to still bite!
The fells, hills and mountains of the Lake District are diverse in altitude and form, from the grassy slopes of Skiddaw and Blencathra in the north to the arid, boulder fields of Scafell Pike in the south and the Sunday strollers’ hill of Loughrigg in the central at just over 1,000 feet to the true giants surrounding Albert Wainwrights final resting place of Haystacks such as Pillar and Great Gable in the west.