IntroductionThere was another page entitled The English Lake District on mbpost but I feel that there is a need for more information and so I have produced this area page. I hope that people will find it informative and helpful if they are planning a visit to this incredible part of our Island. No page will ever be definitive and I have consequently not attempted to be so here. It is highly personalised from my own experience and I am sure that others could give a different slant.
Getting ThereSouthern Lakes
Take the M6 and leave at Junction 37 west to Kendal on the A684. Follow this on the outskirts of Kendal and through Windermere to Ambleside. Coniston can be easilly accessed from Ambleside by taking the A593 for 6.5 miles.
Great Langdale is accessed by following the A593 from Ambleside for 2 miles and turning right at Skelwith Bridge onto the B5343. The head of Great Langdale is 4.5 miles through Chapel Stile.
Take the M6 and leave at Junction 40, the Penrith turn off and head west to Keswick on the A66 for 17 miles.
Facts and FiguresSize of The Lake District
885 square miles / 2292 square kilometres
Width (west to east): 33 miles / 53 km
Width (north to south): 40 miles / 64 km
#Scafell Pike at 3210 feet (978 metres)
#Scafell at 3162 feet (964 metres)
#Helvellyn at 3114 feet (950 metres)
#Skiddaw at 3053 feet (31 metres)
#Great End at 2986 feet (910 metres)
#Bowfell at 2940 feet (902 metres)
You can mountain bike Helvellyn and Skiddaw.
Here are all the Lake District Fells in order of their height - I like this sort of info!!
Deepest lake is Wastwater at 243 feet (74 metres )
Longest lake is Windermere which is 10.5 miles long
Area of Lakes in Acres (Hectares)
Windermere - 3605 (1459)
Ullswater - 2184 (884)
Derwentwater - 1386 (531)
Bassenthwaite - 1280 (518)
Coniston - 1174 (475)
Haweswater - 956 (387
Thirlmere - 808 (327)
Ennerdale - 744 (301)
Wast Water - 699 (283)
Crummock Water - 638 (258)
Buttermere - 230 (93)
Grasmere - 151 (61)
Loweswater - 151 (61)
Rydal - 77 (31)
Mean temperature in Ambleside:
July - 58.8 deg F (14.9 deg C)
January - 37.6 deg F (3.1 deg C)
in Ambleside: 82.4" (2061mm)
in Seathwaite, the wettest inhabited place in England:
BackgroundThe Lake District first gained National Park status in 1951 and is the U.K.'s largest National Park covering an area of about 885 square miles. I would say it is one of the most beautiful areas in England if not the UK. I love this place and can’t keep away!
It has a rich history and in Neolithic times it was a major source of stone axe heads which have been located in the Langdale Valley at the now famous “Axe Factory”.
Celts, Romans, Angles and Vikings all settled at one time in this beautiful area. The place names bear testimony to these inhabitants e.g. Thwaite (clearing), Gill (ravine), Force (waterfall) and Fell (mountain). Mining also was a predominant industry in the area and old quarries can be seen in many of the hillsides. Mining for slate, gypsum, graphite and iron ore all took place in this region. The Fells and valleys have been shaped by the famous Herdwick Sheep as they graze. There are 8.3 million day visitors to the Lake District. They come as tourists partaking in activities ranging from walking, mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, orienteering, sailing, fishing etc. There are two main honeypot centres in the Lake District. In the North Keswick and in the South Ambleside. These two towns have all the basic amenities and are really good staging posts to exploring the rest of the Lake District. They do however seem to have a predominance of outdoor shops all stocking the same kind of gear! There are some areas which are less accessible e.g. Wastwater and Buttermere and are well worth a visit.
The mountains near these two lakes are spectacular e.g. Scarfell Pike, Pillar, Great Gable and the High Stile Ridge.
The Mountain BikingThe Mountain biking in the Lake District is endless ranging from tarmaced lanes to the high mountains with everything in between. However one can only mountain bike four of the Fells legally being:- Skiddaw, Helvellyn, High Street and The High Stile Ridge. And these are something else! What I would called real mountain biking.
But don’t worry about that! There are many mountain passes which will test the mettle of even the most committed mountain biker! For example:- Black Sail Pass, Scarth Gap Pass, Nan Bield Pass, Garburn Pass, Gatescarth Pass, Sticks Pass, Walna Scar Road, Moses’ Trod Path, Boredale and Stake Pass to name a few to get you started!!
As well as that there are two mountain bike centres:- Grizedale in the South and Whinlatter in the North. These are both quality places to ride providing excellent trails with huge fun factor. I cut my teeth mountain biking in Grizedale long before MTBing took off in the UK and love this forest. There are some awesome sections off pieste so to speak but you will need a little time to find them!! The descent to High Nibthwaite is well worth riding!
If you want to ride the lower levels again the options are almost endless but will always challenge you! That’s the Lakes for you.
Check out this useful site for all routes in the Lakes.
Bike ShopsIt really is worth knowing that there are decent bike shops in the area. And there are!!
Bike Treks in Ambleside is a great shop with knowledgeable and friendly staff. It is situated on the left side of the Bridge House shown here.
The Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick is a well stocked shop with staff that ride and know the area well. It is also a great café! It is owned by KMB who have other shops in Keswick. One opposite the car park where this one is situated.
Cyclewise in Whinlatter Forest.
Where to stayMore like where to start! The options are endless from Camping to YHA, B&B to Posh Hotels! I personally have stayed at the following and thoroughly recommend them:-
Kendal Caravan and Camping Club Site just outside the National Park but only about 13 miles from Ambleside. Kendal has all the aminities and cheap places to eat like Wetherspoons
YHA various – budget rooms but have improved greatly over the past few years.
Aardvark B&B Ambleside – Right in the centre of Ambleside but a quiet very welcoming B&B – a cracking breakfast too!
No posh hotels to tell you about, can’t afford them!
More information :
National Trust Camping
There are good quality Hostels all over the Lakes at a budget rate. Worth looking at. They are not what they were 30 years ago (thank goodness!). YHA
Hotels, B&B and Property Rental
Hotels & B&B
Hotels & B&B
MapsThese are essential for any ride in the area. There are the classic OS outdoor leisure maps which must be in your CamelBak
There are some good pre-planned routes for which you can buy the maps at a very reasonable cost.
External Linkswww.lake-district.gov.uk - Lake District National Park Authority
www.cumbria.gov.uk - Cumbria County Council
www.visitcumbria.com - Lake District tourist information
www.lakedistrictletsgo.co.uk - General info from Lake District Lets Go
www.langdaleweb.co.uk - general info from Langdale.Web
www.lakedistrictoutdoors.co.uk - Lake District Outdoors website
www.cyclingcumbria.co.uk - Cycling Cumbria website
www.mountain-bike-cumbria.co.uk - Mountain Bike Cumbira website
www.lake-district.gov.uk/index/enjoying/webcams - webcams of the Lake District