The Lake District is England’s largest national park . . . and it is absolutely stunning! Just a day ago, BBC Two aired ‘The Lake District: A Wild Year’, a programme centred around the nature of the Lake District’s incredible landscape, its wildlife, and its communities. For those who missed it, I have provided the link below this quoted description from BBC iplayer.
For the wildlife and people who live amongst the epic scenery of the Lake District, life is one of continuous change. Cutting-edge camera techniques give a new and unique perspective on a turbulent year in the life of England’s largest national park.
Time-lapse photography shows months and weeks passing in seconds – snow and ice giving way to sunshine or the frequent rain showers – whilst the animals, plants and people find extraordinary ways to cope with the challenges of this stunning, ancient landscape.
The magnificence of the Lake District National Park is partly facilitated by the husbandry of its indigenous Herdwick sheep. These sheep have an inbred sense of direction which ensures that they do not wander away from their home pastures and get lost. As they roam and feed, so are they also shaping the faces of Lakeland’s iconic fells, creating and maintaining the iconic landscapes Lakeland’s communities and visitors love.
I am across an article entitled ’10 things you’ll learn about the Lake District from the BBC’s new documentary’. Here they are, reproduced below, with a link attributing this list to tv.bt.com:
1. 16 million people visit the Lake District each year.
2. The Lake District’s iconic landscapes and traditions are shaped by generations of Herdwick sheep farming. This native breed of sheep are born with black fleeces which gradually turn white as the sheep grow older (a bit like us humans).
3. Everybody knows Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England, measuring a magnificent 10.5 miles long. But did you know that it hosts the largest outdoor swimming event in Europe each summer, when 10,000 brave souls take the plunge into its bracing waters?
4. There have been pleasure cruises on Windermere’s waters since the 1840s. What started out as one single vessel crossing the lake once a day has turned into a huge tourist operation – Windermere Lake Cruises now runs over 100 cruises per day. One of the most celebrated cruise ships, the Tern, is over 125 years old and carries 10,000 tourists a day.
5. Over 1,000 tourists visit the house and garden of the Lake District’s most famous resident, Beatrix Potter, every day.
6. The Lake District was so dear to Beatrix Potter, she used her fortune to buy up thousands of acres of farmland and fell in order to preserve its traditional way of life. She was a key figure in saving the traditional Herdwick sheep from extinction, becoming an expert Herdwick sheep breeder and the first female president designate of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders’ Association. When she died in 1943 she left 14 farms, sheep and 4000 acres of land to the National Trust.
7. Come rain, shine or snow, an experienced mountaineer must climb the peak Helvellyn every day to gather vital information about weather and snow conditions.
8. The Lake District is one of the last Red Squirrel strongholds in the UK. Potter’s cheeky character Squirrel Nutkin was inspired by her childhood trips to the area.
9. The Lake District’s iconic drystone walls have been constructed using the same techniques and the same stones for hundreds of years. But the walls are more than just boundaries – they have their very own ecosystem. In the summer heat, they provide a cool sanctuary for slugs and spiders, who lay their eggs in the walls’ nooks and crannies.
10. Every June, Herdwicks are rounded up from the fells for their annual haircut. Shearing a whole flock can take several days, but a highly skilled sheep shearer can de-fleece up to 300 sheep a day. Talk about dyed-in-the-wool farmers.
Blenheim Lodge, our AA 4-Star Bed and Breakfast in Bowness on Windermere, is situated in the heart of the Lake District National Park. We, like many others who live here, never cease to be amazed at just how incredible this landscape is. Every which way one turns, there is something new to discover. For instance, did you know that almost any small turn-off by the side of a road, whether major or minor, will usually lead to footpaths, the following of which will more often than not open up to more trails and wonderful vistas? One of these barely registered footpaths, accidentally found when entering through a gate closing off a large nondescript field, led me, for the first time, to a different aspect of Windermere, England’s largest lake. So, for those who would discover the secrets of the Lake District National Park, do come and enjoy this lovely landscape of mountains and lakes, woodlands and streams, waterfalls and rivers with us. You never know, you might discover a new secret within this ancient land.
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’