Cumbria

Cumbria ( KUM-bree-ə) 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).

The county of Cumbria was created in April 1974 through an amalgamation of the administrative counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, to which parts of Lancashire (the area known as Lancashire North of the Sands) and the West Riding of Yorkshire were added.[2]

During the Neolithic period the area contained an important centre of stone axe production (the so-called 'Langdale Axe Factory'), products of which have been found across Great Britain.[3] During this period stone circles and henges were built across the county and today 'Cumbria has one of the largest number of preserved field monuments in England'.[4]

While not part of the region conquered in the Romans' initial conquest of Britain in AD 43, most of modern-day Cumbria was later conquered in response to a revolt deposing the Roman-aligned ruler of the Brigantes in AD 69.[5] The Romans built a number of fortifications in the area during their occupation, the most famous being UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian's Wall which passes through northern Cumbria.[6]

At the end of the period of British history known as Roman Britain (c. AD 410) the inhabitants of Cumbria were Cumbric-speaking native Romano-Britons who were probably descendants of the Brigantes and Carvetii (sometimes considered to be a sub-tribe of the Brigantes) that the Roman Empire had conquered in about AD 85.[citation needed] Based on inscriptional evidence from the area, the Roman civitas of the Carvetii seems to have covered portions of Cumbria. The names Cumbria, Cymru (the native Welsh name for Wales), Cambria, and Cumberland are derived from the name these people gave themselves, *kombroges in Common Brittonic, which originally meant "compatriots".[7][8]

Although Cumbria was previously believed to have formed the core of the Early Middle Ages Brittonic kingdom of Rheged, more recent discoveries near Galloway appear to contradict this.[9] For the rest of the first millennium, Cumbria was contested by several entities who warred over the area, including the Brythonic Celtic Kingdom of Strathclyde and the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. Most of modern-day Cumbria was a principality in the Kingdom of Scotland at the time of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and thus was excluded from the Domesday Book survey of 1086. In 1092 the region was invaded by William II and incorporated into England.[10] Nevertheless, the region was dominated by the many Anglo-Scottish Wars of the latter Middle Ages and early modern period and the associated Border Reivers who exploited the dynamic political situation of the region.[11] There were at least three sieges of Carlisle fought between England and Scotland, and two further sieges during the Jacobite risings.

After the Jacobite Risings of the eighteenth century, Cumbria became a more stable place and, as in the rest of Northern England, the Industrial Revolution caused a large growth in urban populations. In particular, the west-coast towns of Workington, Millom and Barrow-in-Furness saw large iron and steel mills develop, with Barrow also developing a significant shipbuilding industry.[12] Kendal, Keswick and Carlisle all became mill towns, with textiles, pencils and biscuits among the products manufactured in the region. The early nineteenth century saw the county gain fame as the Lake Poets and other artists of the Romantic movement, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, lived among, and were inspired by, the lakes and mountains of the region. Later, the children's writer Beatrix Potter also wrote in the region and became a major landowner, granting much of her property to the National Trust on her death.[13] In turn, the large amount of land owned by the National Trust assisted in the formation of the Lake District National Park in 1951, which remains the largest National Park in England and has come to dominate the identity and economy of the county.

The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history.[14] The county of Cumbria was created in 1974 from the traditional counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, the Cumberland County Borough of Carlisle, along with the North Lonsdale or Furness part of Lancashire, usually referred to as "Lancashire North of the Sands", (including the county borough of Barrow-in-Furness) and, from the West Riding of Yorkshire, the Sedbergh Rural District.[2] It is governed by Cumbria County Council.

On 2 June 2010, taxi driver Derrick Bird killed 12 and injured 11 in a spree killing that spanned over 24 kilometres (15 miles) along the Cumbrian coastline.[15]

Local papers The Westmorland Gazette and Cumberland and Westmorland Herald continue to use the name of their historic county. Other publications, such as local government promotional material, describe the area as "Cumbria", as do the Lake District National Park Authority.

Cumbria is the most northwesterly county of England. The northernmost and southernmost points in Cumbria are just west of Deadwater, Northumberland and South Walney respectively. Kirkby Stephen (close to Tan Hill, North Yorkshire) and St Bees Head are the most easterly and westerly points of the county. Most of Cumbria is mountainous, with the majority of the county being situated in the Lake District while the Pennines, consisting of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, lie at the eastern and south-east areas of the county. At 978 metres (3,209 ft) Scafell Pike is the highest point in Cumbria and in England. Windermere is the largest natural lake in England.

The Lancaster Canal runs from Preston into South Cumbria and is partly in use. The Ulverston Canal which once reached to Morecambe Bay is maintained although it was closed in 1945. The Solway Coast and Arnside and Silverdale AONB's lie in the lowland areas of the county, to the north and south respectively.

Cumbria is bordered by the English counties of Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the Scottish council areas of Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders.

The boundaries are along the Irish Sea to Morecambe Bay in the west, and along the Pennines to the east. Cumbria's northern boundary stretches from the Solway Firth from the Solway Plain eastward along the border with Scotland to Northumberland.

It is made up of six districts: Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland. For many administrative purposes Cumbria is divided into three areas — East, West and South. East consists of the districts of Carlisle and Eden, West consists of Allerdale and Copeland, and South consists of Lakeland and Barrow.

In January 2007, Cumbria County Council voted in favour of an official bid to scrap the current two-tier system of county and district councils in favour of a new unitary Cumbria Council, to be submitted for consideration to the Department for Communities and Local Government.[16] This was then rejected.

The county returns six Members of Parliament to the House of Commons, representing the constituencies of Carlisle, Penrith & The Border, Workington, Copeland, Westmorland and Lonsdale and Barrow & Furness.

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions in Barrow-in-Furness has a workforce of around 5,000 people.

Many large companies and organisations are based in Cumbria. The county council itself employs around 17,000 individuals, while the largest private employer in Cumbria, the Sellafield nuclear processing site, has a workforce of 10,000.[17] Below is a list of some of the county's largest companies and employers (excluding services such as Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria Fire and Rescue and the NHS in Cumbria), categorised by district:

The largest and most widespread industry in Cumbria is tourism. The Lake District National Park alone receives some 15.8 million visitors every year.[34] Despite this, fewer than 50,000 people reside permanently within the Lake District – mostly in Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Coniston, Keswick, Grasmere and Windermere.[34] Over 36,000 Cumbrians are employed in the tourism industry which adds £1.1 billion a year to the county's economy. The Lake District and county as a whole attracts visitors from across the UK,[34] Europe, North America and the Far East (particularly Japan).[34] The tables below show the twenty most-visited attractions in Cumbria in 2009 (please note that not all visitor attractions provided data to Cumbria Tourism who collated the list. Notable examples are Furness Abbey, the Lakes Aquarium and South Lakes Safari Zoo, the latter of which would almost certainly rank within the top five).[35]

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of East Cumbria at current basic prices (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of West Cumbria at current basic prices (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

As of the 2019 general election, the Labour Party have zero MPs from Cumbria for the first time since 1910.

Although Cumbria has a comprehensive system almost in toto, it has one state grammar school in Penrith. There are 42 state secondary schools and 10 independent schools. The more rural secondary schools tend to have sixth forms (although in Barrow-in-Furness district, no schools have sixth forms) and this is the same for three schools in Allerdale and South Lakeland, and one in the other districts. Chetwynde is also the only school in Barrow to educate children from nursery all the way to sixth form level.

The University of Cumbria is one of the UK's newest universities having been established in 2007, it is at present the only university in Cumbria and has campuses across the county, together with Lancaster and London.

The M6 is the only motorway that runs through Cumbria. Kendal and Penrith are amongst its primary destinations, before it becomes the A74(M) just north of Carlisle. Major A roads within Cumbria include:

Several bus companies run services in Cumbria serving the main towns and villages in the county, with some services running to neighbouring areas such as Lancaster. Stagecoach North West is the largest; it has depots in Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Kendal and Workington. Stagecoach's flagship X6 route connects Barrow-in-Furness and Kendal in south Cumbria.

There are only two airports in the county: Carlisle Lake District and Barrow/Walney Island. Both airports formerly served scheduled passenger flights and both are proposing expansions and renovations to handle domestic and European flights in the near future. The nearest international airports to south Cumbria are Blackpool, Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon. North Cumbria is closer to Newcastle, Glasgow Prestwick and Glasgow International. Barrow-in-Furness is one of the country's largest shipbuilding centres, but the Port of Barrow is only minor, operated by Associated British Ports alongside the Port of Silloth in Allerdale. There are no ferry links from any port or harbour along the Cumbria coast.

The busiest railway stations in Cumbria are Carlisle, Barrow-in-Furness, Penrith and Oxenholme Lake District. The West Coast Main Line runs for 399 miles (642 km) through the Cumbria countryside, adjacent to the M6 motorway. The Cumbrian Coast Line connects Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle and is a vital link in the west of the county. Other railways in Cumbria are the Windermere Branch Line, most of the Furness Line and much of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

Cumbria's largest settlement and only city is Carlisle, in the north of the county. The largest town, Barrow-in-Furness, in the south, is slightly smaller. The county's population is largely rural: it has the second-lowest population density among English counties, and has only five towns with a population of over 20,000. Cumbria is also one of the country's most ethnically homogeneous counties, with 95.1% of the population categorised as White British (around 470,900 of the 495,000 Cumbrians).[41] However, the larger towns have ethnic makeups that are closer to the national average. The 2001 census indicated that Christianity was the religion with the most adherents in the county.

2010 ONS estimates placed the number of foreign-born (non-United Kingdom) people living in Cumbria at around 14,000 and foreign nationals at 6,000.[42] The 2001 UK Census showed the following most common countries of birth for Cumbrians that year:

The table below has divided the settlements into their local authority district. Each district has a centre of administration; for some of these correlate with a district's largest town, while others are named after the geographical area.

The arms of Cumbria County Council were granted by the College of Arms on 10 October 1974. The arms represent the areas from which the new county council's area was put together; the shield's green border has Parnassus flowers representing Cumberland interspersed with roses; red for Lancashire (the Furness district) on white for Yorkshire (Sedbergh is from the West Riding). The crest is a ram's head crest, found in the arms both of Westmorland County Council and Barrow County Borough, with Cumberland's Parnassus flowers again. The supporters are the legendary Dacre Bull (Cumberland) and a red dragon, redolent of Cumbria's Brittonic origin.(Appleby in Westmorland). They stand on a base compartment representing Hadrian's Wall (in Cumberland), crossed with two red bars (from the Westmorland arms).[46]

The county council motto "Ad Montes Oculos Levavi" is Latin, from Psalm 121; ("I shall lift up mine eyes unto the hills").[46]

The county flag of Cumbria is a banner of arms of Cumbria County Council.[47][48]

Fell running is a popular sport in Cumbria, with an active calendar of competitions taking place throughout the year.

Barrow and Carlisle United are the only professional football teams in Cumbria and both currently play in EFL League Two. Carlisle United attract support from across Cumbria and beyond, with many Cumbrian "ex-pats" travelling to see their games, both home and away.[citation needed]

Workington—who are always known locally as "the reds"—are a well-supported non-league team,[citation needed] having been relegated from the Football League in the 1970s. Workington made a rapid rise up the non league ladder and in 2007/08 competed with Barrow in the Conference North. Barrow were then promoted to the Conference Premier in 2007/08. In 2020, Barrow were promoted to the Football League as a result of winning the National League.

Rugby league is a very popular sport in South and West Cumbria. Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington play in the Rugby League Championships.

Amateur teams; Wath Brow Hornets, Askam, Egremont Rangers, Kells, Barrow Island, Hensingham and Millom play in the National Conference.

Rugby union is popular in the east of the county with teams such as Furness RUFC & Hawcoat Park RUFC (South Cumbria), Workington RUFC (Workington Zebras), Whitehaven RUFC, Carlisle RUFC, Aspatria RUFC, Wigton RUFC, Kendal RUFC, Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC, Keswick RUFC, Cockermouth RUFC, Upper Eden RUFC and Penrith RUFC.

Workington is home to the ball game known as Uppies and Downies,[49] a traditional version of football, with its origins in Medieval football or an even earlier form.[50] Players from outside Workington do take part, especially fellow West Cumbrians from Whitehaven and Maryport.[51]

Cumbria is home to the Furness Phantoms, the county's sole American football team.

Cumberland County Cricket Club is one of the cricket clubs that constitute the Minor Counties in the English domestic cricket structure. The club, based in Carlisle, competes in the Minor Counties Championship and the MCCA Knockout Trophy. The club also play some home matches in Workington, as well as other locations.

Cumbrian club cricket teams play in the North Lancashire and Cumbria League.

Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling is an ancient and well-practised tradition in the county with a strong resemblance to Scottish Backhold.

In the 21st century Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling along with other aspects of Lakeland culture are practised at the Grasmere Sports and Show, an annual meeting held every year since 1852 on the August Bank Holiday.

The origin of this form of wrestling is a matter of debate, with some describing it as having evolved from Norse wrestling brought over by Viking invaders,[52] while other historians associate it with the Cornish and Gouren styles[53] indicating that it may have developed out of a longer-standing Celtic tradition.[54]

Cumbria Kart Racing Club is based at the Lakeland Circuit, Rowrah, between Cockermouth and Egremont . The track is currently a venue for rounds of both major UK national karting championships . Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both raced karts at Rowrah many times in the formative stages of their motor sport careers,[55] while other F1 drivers, past and present, to have competed there include Johnny Herbert, Anthony Davidson, Allan McNish, Ralph Firman, Paul di Resta and David Coulthard, who hailed from just over the nearby Anglo-Scottish border and regarded Rowrah as his home circuit, becoming Cumbria Kart Racing Club Champion in 1985 in succession to McNish (di Resta also taking the CKRC title subsequently).[56]

Cumbria is home to the Cartmel Valley Lions, an amateur baseball team based in Cartmel.

Workington Comets were a Workington-based professional speedway team,[57] which competed in the British Speedway Championship.[58]

Two evening newspapers are published daily in Cumbria. The News and Star focuses largely on Carlisle and the surrounding areas of north and west Cumbria, and the North-West Evening Mail is based in Barrow-in-Furness and covers news from across Furness and the South Lakes. The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald and The Westmorland Gazette are weekly newspapers based in Penrith and Kendal respectively. The Egremont 2Day newspaper, formerly Egremont Today when affiliated with the Labour Party, was a prominent monthly publication - founded by Peter Watson (and edited by him until his death in 2014) in 1990 until July 2018. In February 2020 The Herdwick News, run by the last editor of The Egremont 2Day, was launched and is an independent online news publication covering the county of Cumbria and the North West.

Due to the size of Cumbria the county spans two television zones: BBC North East and Cumbria and ITV Tyne Tees & Border in the north and BBC North West and ITV Granada in the south. Heart North West, CFM Radio and Smooth Lake District are the most popular local radio stations throughout the county, with BBC Radio Cumbria being the only station that is aimed at Cumbria as a whole.

The Australian-New Zealand feature film The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988) is set in Cumbria during the onset of the Black Death in 14th-century Europe.

Cumbria is host to a number of festivals, including Kendal Calling (actually held in Penrith since 2009)[70][71] and Kendal Mountain Festival.