The county of Cumbria in the north-west corner of England has attracted many generations of visitors. Tourism is thriving and arguably is now Cumbria’s most important industry. The designation of the Lake District National Park in 1951 helped to fuel the popularity of the area. Many people come to enjoy the peace and tranquility to be found on the mountains, in valleys, at lakeside and along the coast. The challenge and exhilaration of hiking through Cumbria’s magnificent countryside is why many people come to Cumbria.
The landscape that we now walk, was at one time subject to violent volcanic eruptions, glaciations and submergence under the sea. Over the last few hundred years agriculture has had the most significant effect on landscape development. Without agriculture there would be no villages and market towns, moorland for grazing, dry stone walls and stone buildings. Today, the natural processes of wind, rain, snow and ice, plus thousands of hiking boots are having an impact. In the future, changes to agricultural subsidies may leas to sheep leaving the high fells and result in significant changes to the terrain.
In the 1970s The Ramblers Association realised that many walkers and visitors were concentrating on ‘hot spots’ within the county, places like Windermere, Scafell and Hellvelyn. They decided to construct a route using existing paths to introduce people to some of the less well known parts of the country. The trail is Cumbria’s longest path, it starts in the south of the county near the sands of Morecambe Bay, heads slowly north through arguably some of the finest scenery to be found in the Lake District National Park before completing its course at the county town – the City of Carlisle. The Cumbria Way can be walked in sections, a day at a time over several months, or all in one go in under a week.
The Cumbria Way book celebrates the Cumbria Way trail through a selection of award-winning images (Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild Portfolio Award 2005) with accompanying text that describes the trail, the landscape and the history which make Cumbria and the Lake District National Park so special. Originally published as a hardback book by Zymurgy Publishing in 2006, this new electronic version includes extra photographs that were not included in the original version.
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