Lake District National Park is located in the far northwest region of England. The park covers an area of 912 square miles (2,362 sq km) creating the largest national park in England and the second largest in the United Kingdom after Cairngorms National Park in Scotland.
It is the most popular park in the United Kingdom based on the number of visitors which tops over 16 million annually. Yorkshire Dales National Park is a neighbor directly to the east of the national park.
The park is comprised of the entire area known as the Lake District which includes a number of lakes, forests, and mountains. There are 16 different lakes scattered amongst the hills and small mountainous landscape. There are over 150 of these mountains with the tallest of them being Scafell Pike.
The protected area is also special from a cultural and historical perspective. There are around 400 hundred villages and small towns scattered across the countryside. There are 1,760 different buildings blanketing these countryside settlements.
There are numerous dales and valleys combined with the cultivated farmlands creating abundant picturesque landscapes. Many travelers like driving throughout the area capturing the quaintness of these settlements amongst the beauty of the lakes and rolling hills.
One of the things that make the Lake District National Park unique is the division of ownership. Approximately 50% of the park boundaries are accounted for by private landowners. Another 25% is owned by the National Trust, and 8% is owned by United Utilities. Only 3.9% is actually owned by the Lake District National Park Authority.
Lake District Highlights
One of the most popular activities is driving through the exquisite countryside viewing the mountains and lakes that blanket the landscape with the numerous villages nestled in the setting. Experiencing the cultural facets of the inhabitants is a highlight for many.
Hiking the over 500 trails is a common draw as well. Travelers enjoy the varied picturesque landscapes created by the rolling hills, mountains, and lakes.
Lake Windermere is the longest lake in all of England. It covers an area of 2,000 square miles (8,000 sq km) while displaying as a long slender finger-like lake. The lake reaches a depth of 258 feet (79 m).
The lake and surrounding landscapes are renowned for their beauty. The serenity of the rolling hills creates picturesque views that have been inspirational for many travelers, artists, and writers.
Scafell Pike is the tallest mountain in the national park and the tallest mountain in England. The mountain also serves as a war memorial and is protected by the National Trust.
Scafell Pike reaches a height of 3,209 feet (978 m). It is one of four mountains that reach a height of over 3,000 feet (914 m) in the national park.
Lake Wastwater is also known as Wast Water Lake. It is located on the western side of the national park stretching over a distance of 3 miles (4.8 km) long and .31 miles (0.49 km) wide. Although a small lake based on area, it is the country’s deepest lake at 258 feet (79 m).
The top of the lake sits at 200 feet (60 m) above sea level with the bottom of the lake reaching 50 feet (15 m) below sea level.
Trails of Lake District National Park
The national park features cultivated and uncultivated land. Hiking in the cultivated areas is restricted to designated trails or footpaths. Around half of the park is cultivated. The other half of the park is uncultivated and random hiking is available for exploring the serenity of the landscapes.
There are well over 500 trails for hiking and exploring the national park. The trails range from easy to difficult.
Buttermere Circuit Trail: This loop trail is rated easy with only an elevation gain of 511 feet (155.7 m). It travels around Buttermere Lake covering a distance of 4.3 miles (6.92 km). Views of the lake are accompanied by a chance to see wildflowers, wildlife, and the surrounding forest.
Helvellyn Trail: This is a trail that ascends 2,444 feet (744.9 m) over 4.2 miles (6.76 km) before making the trek back down. The trail is a bit rocky while making the ascent, however, it does lead to stunning panoramic views.
Cat Bells-Maiden Moor Trail: This is an adventurous loop trail over 8.0 miles (12.87 km) with an ascent of 2,234 feet (680.9 m). High Spy, Maiden moor, and Catbells are the three primary highlights of the adventure, however, there are also chances to see wildflowers and plenty of birdwatching.
Scafell Pike Trail: This is one of the most popular trails for those looking to check off milestones. It is the tallest mountain in England. The trail ascends 3,011 feet (612.9 m) over a distance of 5.7 miles (9.17 km) before making the trek back down. Birdwatching is common but the challenge of reaching the top and the panoramic views are the driving features of the hike. The trail is rocky and rated difficult.
The national park was created to invest in the lakes and surrounding landscapes of the area. The intent of the park status is to prevent future development of the area keeping the pristine countryside stunning for future generations. Human encroachment and development is the greatest threat to the wilderness. The national park protects the longest lake, the tallest mountain, and the deepest lake in the country.
Lake District Highlights
- Scafell Pike
- Wastwater Lake
- Lake Windermere
- All Trails, Best Trails in Lake District National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/england/cumbria/lake-district-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
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- Lake District National Park, Government Site, https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/, retrieved July 2020.
- Lonely Planet, The Lake District, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/england/cumbria-and-the-lakes/lake-district, retrieved July 2020.
- National Trust, Climbing Scafell Pike, https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wasdale/features/climbing-scafell-pike, retrieved July 2020.
- Visit Cumbria, Lake District National Park, https://www.visitcumbria.com/lake-district/, retrieved July 2020.
- Wikipedia, Wast Water, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wast_Water, retrieved July 2020.
- Wikipedia, Windermere, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windermere, retrieved July 2020.