Lancashire and The Lake District

Lancashire is a historic county in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster and is thought to have been founded in the 12th century.

In the Doomsday Book (1086), some of its lands had been treated as part of Yorkshire, thus beginning a long rivalry which reached its height with the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) when the two royal houses of Lancaster and York fought for the kingship of England. The rivalry continues today in a number of more peaceful arenas with, amongst other events, the two University towns holding an annual ‘war of the roses’ sporting competition. Lancashire emerged during the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) as a major commercial and industrial region, with the county encompassing several hundred mill towns and collieries. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire. Also during this period, Blackpool developed as a major centre for tourism for the inhabitants of Lancashire's mill towns, particularly during wakes week, during which the local factories, collieries and other industries closed for a week. Today, Lancashire still has significant industrial activity, but is also a popular tourist destination with attractions including the Arnside and Silverdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, both of which have received a gold award for green tourism.

The Lake District, is a mountainous region to the north of Lancashire. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets of the romantic movement. Historically shared by the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire, the Lake District now lies entirely within the modern county of Cumbria. All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest lakes in England, Wastwater and Windermere, respectively. For visitors, it offers everything from gentle strolls and cosy tea rooms to rugged hills and testing climbs. The Lake District was also home to children’s writer Beatrix Potter who with the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey near Ambleside in 1905. Over the next several decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape, and as well as being a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep, was a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. On her death in 1943 she left almost all her property to the National Trust and is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park. Hill Top Farm remains a popular visitor attraction.

A warm (but not necessarily romantic) welcome awaits you on the 7, 8, and 9 July 2014.

Marian Iszatt-White, Emma Watton, Chris Saunders and Steve Kempster