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October - November 2005


Perfect Picture Postcard of Cumbria - the Lake District

by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur

Sketch of beautiful Lake Windermere

The northwest region – Cumbria, is the second largest and the most dramatic county in England with the Lake District National Park as the main centre of attraction. The Cumbrian coastline has beauty of its own with sandy beaches and small seaside resorts. There are seventeen lakes in this area. The most visited lakes amongst these are Lake Windermere, Coniston, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Derwentwater and Ullswater. Windermere is England’s largest lake (17 Km long) and the most popular of all lakes. A boat trip on this lake will show the beauty of small islands and attractive shores lined with lush green woodlands under the backdrop of low mountains. In fact, the lakeside scenery is breathtaking.

The region also has England’s highest peaks and scenic valleys with few traditional settlements. The important villages and towns to explore include Ambleside, Bowness, Coniston, Grasmere, Keswick and Windermere.
Bowness is now virtually merged with Windermere and has become a hub for the tourists. The narrow streets are lined with Victorian stone and slate buildings.

St. Bees Head

St. Bees is a small village on the coast with sandy beaches. St. Bees Head dominates the village. It is also a starting point for the long distance walk from the western to the eastern coast.

Carlisle lies close to the Scottish borders. It is a historic, stylish and vibrant city. It played an historic, stylish and vibrant city. It played an important role in shaping and developing English and Scottish history. Moreover, during the occupation of Britain, the Romans established themselves at Carlisle. The colourful history of the city can be traced through its Castle – a border fortress, the Tullie House Museum – illustrating both turbulent and peaceful history, the Guildhall Museum – the oldest building in town, and the Cathedral. Carlisle Cathedral, built in red sandstone, has an interesting eastern window with 14 century glass. The vaulted ceiling of the nave is richly decorated and is very impressive.

Cockermouth’s main attraction is a large Georgian country house with a walled garden overlooking the banks of River Derwent. William Wordsworth was born in this house. The National Trust has recently renovated it. The house is furnished and equipped with period sights and sounds of the 18‑century. It also contains many of Wordsworth’s memorabilia.

Grassmere vales and hills

Grasmere is a small picturesque village where Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage and wrote his great poems.

Keswick is a market town, which is situated besides Derwent Water. It was once a centre of the graphite mining industry, now illustrated in the well-known ‘Pencil Museum’.

Whitehaven is a small attractive harbour town with a large marina. Most of the buildings in town are painted in attractive pastel colours.

Famous personalities: In literary circles this area is sometimes referred to as William Wordsworth’s District. He was an adventurer, poet and writer. The natural and outstanding beauty of the region inspired him. Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, moved to Grasmere and then to Rydal Mount near Ambleside. Another literary connection to this place can be made with John Ruskin, the author, art critic and social reformer. He lived at Brentwood, on the shores of Coniston Water. Of course, one more famous name associated with this area is Beatrix Potter who wrote tales and stories for children and illustrated them with her own drawings and paintings. She lived in Hawkshead village where there is a small museum showing her original works.

Hadrian’s Wall, the longest Roman landmark in Britain, was built with numerous well-preserved forts and mile castles en route, over a period between AD 120 – 128, to mark the boundary of the Roman Empire in a unique and distinctive way. The wall passes through some of the most spectacular scenery of the rolling fields, and quiet villages of Lakeland. It is 73 miles long and is a World Heritage Site, meaning that it is on the same list of other ancient monuments as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. It has been said that the wall was built to ‘separate the Romans from the Barbarians.’

Hadrian's Wall

Undoubtedly, there is a great deal in terms of natural scenic beauty and interesting historic places in Cumbria for every one to experience and enjoy.

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More articles by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur

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