Rydal Mount home of William Wordsworth
Rydal Mount home of William Wordsworth

A brief history of the Lake District

sizergh castle

The Lake District is the UK's largest National Park extending over an area of approximately 880 square miles, and gained National Park status in 1951. The National Park Authority manage and maintain The Lake District National Park, which includes protecting the landscape, conservation, promoting the enjoyment of this beautiful region and also the public's understanding of the area, especially environmental issues. Located in Cumbria in the North West of England, The Lake District runs from Lindale in the south to Caldbeck in the North, and Shap in the East to Ravenglass in the West.

Brockhole a beautiful country house on the shore of Lake Windermere was purchased in 1969 by the Park Authority and became England's very first National Park Visitor Centre. Regardless of the weather, Brockhole is a great place to visit for all the family, with exciting and innovative displays, which bring the traditions, history, flora, fauna and geology of the Lake District to life.

Farming has historically been the major industry in the region. Sheep farming in particular has been a main stay of the economy over the years, with the tough Herdwick breed being most closely associated with the area. To this day sheep farming remains an important factor both to the economy of The Lake District, as well as in preserving the stunning landscape which attracts visitors and hence income to the region.

national trust shopMan has made a major contribution to the way in which the landscape in the Lake District has changed. The region remains one of the main sources of both granite and slate used in the building industry, and quarrying has inevitably left its marks on the landscape. Certain lakes provide a source of drinking water and man made reservoirs and dams have been sympathetically added to the landscape, which serves to enhance the beauty of the region.

The Lake District and the history of English literature in the 18th and 19th centuries go hand in hand. The poet who's name was first connected with the region is Thomas Gray, who documented his Grand Tour in 1769. However, it was William Wordsworth who really put The Lake District on the map for lovers of English poetry. Wordsworth spent much of his life in and around the lakes and mountains, first as a schoolboy at Hawkshead, and afterwards living in Grasmere (1799-1813) and Rydal Mount (1813-50).

In January 1967 Donald Campbell made an attempt to beat the world water speed record in his now famous 'Bluebird' on Coniston Water, but was sadly killed when Bluebird flipped and disintegrated at a speed in excess of 300 mph (480 km/h).

hoad monumentThe rich heritage and beautiful landscape of the Lake District National Park & Cumbria, makes it the chosen destination for millions of tourists who come here every year to take on the challenges that the mountains and fells have to offer, or to enjoy the pleasures of hiking, sailing, and horse riding, and also to visit the numerous and varied attractions. events and festivals.

This really is a truly spectacular destination for a holiday or short break, with something for everyone - you will not be disappointed!