I've previously discussed the Snowdonia National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and the New Forest, but I wanted to spend a few articles showing off one of my favourite natural areas in the UK, the Lake District in north-west England, near Leeds and Blackpool (the closest large cities). This article will be more of an introduction to the area and why you should visit, and the next article will be more detail about where to go and what to do...
The second part of this series will look at the best walking in the Lake District.
Since 1951, this vast area, more than 2600 square kilometres, has been a designated National Park, and has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. In the park you can find the highest mountain in England (Scafell Pike at 978m high), as well as the deepest lake in England (Wastwater is 79m deep) and the largest body of water in England (Windermere covers 15 square kilometres). The Lake District really is quite an extreme place, and although adventures here can be truly remarkable, it's worth been prepared, as conditions can be wet and cold. This is the most visited national park in the UK, with almost 23 million visitors in 2017 and is the largest of the 13 national parks in the UK.
Mountains, lakes, rivers, streams and open fields, as well as rolling hills and steep cliffs to tie it all together. This landscape is steep and mountainous, but also has incredible valleys where plants and trees grow with complete abandon.
The Lake District is one of the wettest areas in the UK, which not only adds to the lush greenness of the area, but also has created the incredible large bodies of water (21 large recognised ones) that really separate the Lake District from other national parks. Sprinkling Tarn is a small lake, and this area is known as the wettest place in England, with more than 5000 mm of rain a year. if you compare this to the roughly 600 mm of rain my home city of Caceres gets, you can see the Lake District can be almost 10 times wetter than Spain. And so, this is a green, flowering and growing landscape year round!
English cities are a bit boring - that's my general feeling - they lack a lot of the soul and life of an Andalusian city packed with history and culture, or a cold but tough northern Germanic town. However, I truly believe that the natural areas in the UK can absolutely compete on the international stage. Simply becasue of the extreme landscapes combined with excessive amounts of rain, these are some of the most green, lush and never-ending views that exist. I think you would need to travel to the much more distant, expensive and less accessible Canadian mountains to see something similar.
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