Almost exactly one third of Cumbria’s 2636square miles lies within the boundaries of the Lake District National Park, England’s largest National Park. It was created in 1951 to protect the area from “inappropriate development and to provide access to the land for public enjoyment”. Within its boundaries can be found some of the most dramatic scenery in England, including the highest mountain in the country, Scafell Pike(3205ft), and the largest and deepest lakes, Windermere and Wast Water respectively, along with another 14 lakes (although apart from Bassenthwaite they are called ‘meres’ or ‘waters’).
Despite the huge influx of visitors, most do not venture far from the main tourist ‘honey-pots’, so it’s still easy to find the peaceful glades and windswept, isolated fells celebrated by the Lake Poets, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. Between them, this lyrical trio transformed the pervading 18th century perception of the most north westerly corner of England as an intimidating wilderness into an appreciation of its majestic scenery. The south eastern corner of the Park is Cumbria’s best known and most popular area, with the main resort towns of Windermere, Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside set around Windermere itself.
Lying between the lakes and mountains of the Lake District and the sandy estuaries of Morecambe Bay, the Cartmel and Furness Peninsulas are areas of gentle moorland, craggy headlands, scattered woodlands and vast expanses of sand. The arrival of the railways in the mid19th century saw the development of genteelr esorts such as Grange-over-Sands overlooking the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay. Grange is still an elegant little town and has been spared the indignity of vast amusement parks and rows of slot machines, retaining its character as a quiet and pleasant holiday centre.
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