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|This dazzling region covering almost 900 square miles contains no less than 16
as well as tarns, glacier-gouged valleys, chocolate-box villages – and even some marvellous beaches.
It also boasts England's five highest mountains and the country's deepest lake.
Dotted across the land, both high and low, are ancient stone circles and barrows, the remains of Roman forts and the remnants of once-important industries such as lead mining and charcoal burning. There are lots of castles, too, not to mention historic houses and abbeys, steam railways, old mills and Carlisle's medieval cathedral.
Cumbria is bounded by the Solway Firth in the north and the Irish Sea to the west. The county borders Northumberland, Yorkshire, and Durham and includes part of the northern Pennines. It was created in 1974 out of the former counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and part of Lancashire. In past millennia it has been a sea, a swamp and a desert and, geologically speaking, only emerged in its present form comparatively recently.
It was left to men such as Thomas Gray and John Gilpin to describe its full glory and put it on the traveller's map. Then the poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey inspired the British public to discover its true value.