10 things you probably didn’t know about the Lake District
22 February 2019
The Lake District is up there with the some of the most beautiful places in the world. But it’s also one of the most fascinating. Here are some of our favourite fun facts about England’s best-loved national park.
1. There’s only one official lake in the Lake District
It might be hard to believe, but it is in fact only Bassenthwaite Lake that has the word “lake” in its title. All of the other lakes in the region are officially classed as either a water, tarn, or mere.
2. It welcomes 17 million visitors each year
The Lakes is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Each year, the area welcomes over 17 million visitors – that’s equal to a quarter of the UK’s entire population! They’ll also spend around £1.2 billion between them, which is great news for local Lakeland businesses and tourist attractions.
3. The locals have plenty of words for “rain”
With an average of 200 days of rain per year, it’s unsurprising that there are several words for “rain” in the Cumbrian dialect. “Mizzling”, “syling”, “hossing”, “stotting”, and “hoyin it down” are all used by locals to describe everything from light drizzle to heavy downpours.
4. It’s home to England’s steepest road
With a maximum gradient of one in three, Hardknott Pass in Eskdale (along with Rosedale Chimney Bank in Yorkshire) has a claim to fame as England’s steepest road. While it may be the most direct route from the central Lake District to West Cumbria, this winding hill pass is not for the faint-hearted.
6. Pencils were invented in the Lake District
The graphite used to make the first pencil was discovered at Seathwaite mine way back in the 1550s. You can explore a replica of the mine, find out how WWII RAF pilots used pencils to guide them home, see miniature pencil sculptures and more at the Derwent Pencil Museum.
7. And so was sticky toffee pudding
Since it was first lovingly crafted by Francis Coulson back in the 1970s, sticky toffee pudding has grown to become one of the nation’s favourite puddings. The best place to try this traditional Lakeland pudding is the Cartmel Village Shop, where they’ve been hand making the delicacy for over 20 years.
8. It’s home to the world’s smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The village of Arnside was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With beautiful views over Morecambe Bay, a pretty promenade lined with quaint local shops, and acres of surrounding countryside to explore, it’s easy to see why.
9. There are six times more sheep than people
Cumbria is home to around 500,000 people, however, the population of sheep exceeds 3 million. Agriculture is the county’s biggest income source behind tourism, and with acres of rugged hillside to roam, it’s little wonder that the hardy Herdwick sheep are the breed of choice for many local farmers.
10. There used to be a bridge to Scotland
Up until the late 19th century, the bridge at Bowness-on-Solway provided a direct route to Scotland. Around this time, alcohol was unavailable to buy in shops in Scotland on Sundays, and so Scots would cross the border for a few tipples in the Lakes. With increasing numbers of people falling from the bridge on their journey back to Scotland, it was decided in 1933 that it should be demolished for safety.
Feeling inspired to make a break for the Lakes? Take a look at our accommodation at Whitbarrow.