The Pennines, Derbyshire | Greater Manchester | Lancashire | North Yorkshire | County Durham | CumbriaThe Pennines are a significant range of hills and mountains, mainly in northern England but partly in southern Scotland. The range separates the North West of England from Yorkshire and the North East. It is often called the 'Backbone of England'.
The Pennines stretch from the Peak District in Derbyshire to the southern reaches of Scotland. The area includes the Yorkshire Dales and it wraps around the northern and eastern edges of Greater Manchester. North of the Aire Gap the Pennines give out a western spur into Lancashire at the Forest of Bowland and a similar spur, the Rossendale Fells, runs from south of the gap.
The Pennine region undoubtedly contains some of the most scenic areas of the United Kingdom. The North Pennines are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as is Nidderdale. Areas of the Pennines are incorporated into the Peak District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Northumberland National Park . The first long distance footpath to be established in England, the 268-mile Pennine Way , runs the full length of the Pennine chain.
The Pennines offer a bewildering variety of landscapes, towns, villages and activities. The sheer size of the area ensures contrast. Walking is of course one of the most popular pursuits. With stunning scenery and thousands of miles of tracks, trails and footpaths to explore the area offers something for walkers of all levels of experience. Cycling in the Pennines, either on or off road is also enjoyed by many thousands all year and every year.
The hills and low-rising mountains offer climbing to suit everyone from beginners to experts. Some of the climbs are extremely challenging and even walkers need to be aware that many Pennine areas are very remote and prone to rapid changes in weather. The Pennine weather can be extremely unforgiving, even deadly.
It is impossible to detail all the possibilities the area offers, even researching one section of the Pennines reveals a dizzying array of opportunities. The North Pennines alone has the lead mining heritage displays at Killhope Museum , at the Nenthead Heritage Centre and in the Weardale Museum . It boasts the magnificent High Force waterfall and the Weardale Railway and the South Tynedale Railways. Hamsterley Forest is a natural delight for visitors while the Forge at Thortergill provides education of a recent past that seems at times to be long forgotten.
A variety of accommodation is available throughout the area from simple camping in a farmer's field to luxury spa hotels. Some areas can be quite busy with tourists and coaches, especially during high season. The remoter areas, however, can offer blissful solitude whatever the season.
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