Region in Cumbria, northwest England. It contains the principal English lakes, separated by wild uplands rising to many peaks, including Scafell Pike (978 m/3,210 ft), the highest peak in England. The area was made a national park in 1951, covering 2,292 sq km/885 sq mi, and is a popular tourist destination.
The Lake District has associations with the writers William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, Thomas De Quincey, John Ruskin, and Beatrix Potter. The principal lakes are Windermere, the largest lake in England; Ullswater; Derwentwater; Coniston Water; Bassenthwaite; Grasmere; and Thirlmere. Peaks include Helvellyn (950 m/3,118 ft) and Great Gable (899 m/2,949 ft). The main tourist centres are Windermere, Keswick, Ambleside, and Grasmere. The overall population is 41,600, and growing slowly.
Thirlmere, Haweswater, and some other smaller lakes are managed as reservoirs for some of England's major conurbations, 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 Haweswater 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.
Conservation 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.
Economy Agriculture (particularly sheep farming), foresty, and fishing employ about 10% of the working population, with a further 5% employed in energy, water, and mining. Manufacturing industries employ about 10%, and the construction industry another 8%, but almost 38% of the population is supported by retailing, tourism, and catering, with another 30% in general service industries.
History Before 1974 the Lake District formed part of Cumberland, Westmorland, and the Furness district of Lancashire.
Lake District National Park