The Lakes with Simon Reeve episode 1: Simon Reeve travels through the glorious Lake District and breathtaking Cumbria, revealing the secrets of this iconic part of Britain. With its magnificent mountains, glacial valleys and 16 iconic lakes and meres, the Lake District is one of the great natural wonders of our country.
But huge changes are sweeping through this ancient landscape. In this episode, Simon meets some of the Cumbrian characters with different visions for the future of England’s biggest national park, including a campaign group trying to protect the remaining red squirrel populations, a traditional farmer who feels that his ancient way of life is on the point of extinction and an 18-year-old student who, following the recent deaths of both parents, now runs a 1500-acre farm.
The Lakes with Simon Reeve episode 1
The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets and also with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin. The Lake District National Park was established in 1951 and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres (912 sq mi). It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
The Lake District is today completely within Cumbria, a county and administrative unit created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. However, it was historically divided between three English counties (Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire), sometimes referred to as the Lakes Counties. The three counties met at the Three Shire Stone on Wrynose Pass in the southern fells west of Ambleside.
All the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and largest natural lakes in England, Wast Water and Windermere respectively.
Cumbria is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria’s county town is Carlisle, in the north of the county. The only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the south-western tip of the county.
The county of Cumbria consists of six districts (Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland) and, in 2019, had a population of just over 500,000 people. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, with 73.4 people per km2 (190/sq mi).
Cumbria is the third largest county in England by area. It is bounded to the north-east by Northumberland, the east by County Durham, the south-east by North Yorkshire, the south by Lancashire, the west by the Irish Sea, the north-west by the Scottish council areas of Dumfries and Galloway, and the north by Scottish Borders.
Cumbria is predominantly rural and contains the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of England’s finest areas of natural beauty, serving as inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians. A large area of the south-east of the county is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, while the east of the county fringes the North Pennines AONB. Much of Cumbria is mountainous and it contains every peak in England over 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level, with the top of Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet (978 m) being the highest point in England.
An upland, coastal and rural area, Cumbria’s history is characterised by invasions, migration and settlement, as well as battles and skirmishes between the English and the Scots. Notable historic sites in Cumbria include Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey, Hardknott Roman Fort, Brough Castle and Hadrian’s Wall (also a World Heritage Site).