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The Pennine Mountains of Northern England


The Pennines are a low-rising mountain range in northern England and southern Scotlandmarker. They separate the North West of England from Yorkshiremarker and the North East.

Often said to be the "backbone of England", they form an unbroken range stretching from the Peak Districtmarker in Derbyshiremarker, through the Yorkshire Dalesmarker, around the northern and eastern edges of Greater Manchestermarker, the West Pennine Moorsmarker of Lancashiremarker and Cumbrianmarker Fells to the Cheviot Hillsmarker on the Anglo-Scottish border. North of the Aire Gap the Pennines give out a western spur into Lancashire, the Forest of Bowland and south of the gap is a similar spur, the Rossendale Fells.

Although the above is a common definition, the Cheviot Hillsmarker are not strictly speaking part of the Pennines, being separated by the Tyne Gap and the Whin Sill, along which run the A69 and Hadrian's Wallmarker - however due to the Pennine Way route crossing them they are often treated as such. Conversely, although the southern end of the Pennines is commonly said to be somewhere in the High Peakmarker district of Derbyshire, often Edalemarker (the start of the Pennine Way); they in fact extend south into Staffordshire and Cheshiremarker, as can be seen by looking at a relief map. The true southern end of the Pennines is actually in the Stoke on Trentmarker area, around south of Edale.

It is an important water catchment area with numerous reservoirs in the head streams of the major river valleys. The region is widely considered to be one of the most scenic areas of the United Kingdommarker. The North Penninesmarker have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as has Nidderdalemarker, while portions of the Pennines are incorporated into the Peak District National Parkmarker, the Yorkshire Dales National Parkmarker and the Northumberland National Parkmarker. Britain's first long distance footpath, the Pennine Waymarker, runs the full length of the Pennine chain and is 429 kilometres (268 mi) long.

Etymology

The first use of the name "Pennines" to describe the mountain range is in the spurious De Situ Britanniae, first published in 1757:

This province is divided into two equal parts by a chain of mountains called the Pennine Alps, which rising on the confines of the Iceni and Carnabii, near the river Trivona [ Trent ], extend towards the north in a continued series of fifty miles.


This book purported to contain the account of a Roman general preserved in the manuscript of a fourteenth century English monk, Richard of Cirencester, and was considered the premier source of information on Roman Britain for more than a century after it was made available in 1749. It was in fact a forgery created by Charles Bertram, an Englishman then living in Copenhagenmarker. In 1853, Arthur Hussey listed several names in De Situ Britanniae that he could not trace to an earlier source, including the "Pennine Alps". However, by that time, particularly in the early 19th century, the name "Pennine Chain" or "Pennines" had become widely accepted.

In his 2004 book Names and History: People, Places and Things, George Redmonds provided a modern assessment. He comments at length on the strange omission of the etymology of the Pennines in the serious literature regarding that area of Englandmarker, including publications on place-name origins of Derbyshiremarker and Lancashiremarker by respected authors. He finally learns that the origin of the name is from De Situ Britanniae and that "nor do we know any name for the whole range before the eighteenth century." There follows a discussion of the forgery and the fact that a number of its inventions had found their way into the Ordnance Surveymarker maps; and that the true origin of the name was known by serious authors, most of whom simply chose not to speak of it. He also notes that the mountains had been called by various names in the past, and that there were allusional references to the mountains as "our Appeninesmarker" as early as the 1630s (and perhaps before that), so likely Bertram simply invented a name that was easy for people to accept as fact.

Toponomy

The names of towns and geographical features retain some evidence of the Celts who were here before, and after, the Romans: for example the town Penrithmarker, the fell Pen-y-ghentmarker, the river Eden, or the name Cumbriamarker.More commonly the local names result from the later Anglo-Saxon and Norse settlements. And in both Yorkshire and Cumbria many Norse words not commonly used in standard English are part of everyday speech: for example, gill (narrow steep valley), beck (brook or stream), fell (hill), dale (valley).

Geology and landscape

The Pennines form an anticline which extends in a north-south direction, consisting of Millstone Grit and the underlying Carboniferous Limestone. The limestone is exposed at the surface to the north of the range in the North Pennines AONB and to the South in the Derbyshire Peak District. In the Yorkshire Dales this limestone exposure has led to the formation of large underground cave systems and watercourses, known as "gills" and "pots" in the Yorkshire dialect. These potholes are more prevalent on the eastern side and are amongst the largest in England; notable examples are the chasms of Gaping Gillmarker, which is over deep and Rowten Potmarker, which is deep. The presence of limestone has also led to some unusual geological formations in the region, such as the limestone pavements of the Yorkshire Pennines. Between the Northern and Southern areas of exposed limestone, between Skipton and the Peak, lies a narrow belt of gritstone country. Here the shales and sandstones of the Millstone Grit form high hills occupied by moors and peat-mosses with the higher ground being uncultivable and barely fit for pastures.

The landscape of the Pennines is generally upland areas of high moorland indented by the more fertile valleys of the region's various rivers.

Drainage

The Pennines constitute the main watershed in northern England, dividing the eastern and western parts of the country. The rivers Eden, Ribblemarker, and Merseymarker all rise in the Pennines and flow westwards towards the Irish Seamarker. On the other side of the watershed, the rivers Tyne, Teesmarker, Wearmarker, Swalemarker, Uremarker, Niddmarker, Calder, Wharfemarker, Airemarker, Don, and Trent also rise in the region but flow eastwards to the North Seamarker.

Reservoirs

Kielder Watermarker

Ladybower Reservoirmarkerand many other smaller reservoirs

Elevation

The mountains are not very high and are often referred to as fells. The highest is Cross Fellmarker in eastern Cumbria, at while other principal peaks include Mickle Fellmarker , Whernsidemarker , Ingleboroughmarker , High Seat and Wild Boar Fellmarker , both in Mallerstangmarker, Pen-y-ghentmarker , and Kinder Scoutmarker .

Character Areas of the Pennines

The Joint Character Areas of the Pennines
England has been divided into areas with similar landscape character. These have been called Joint Character Areas (JCAs). The JCAs are a widely recognised national spatial framework but the boundaries of the JCAs are not precise and many of the boundaries should be considered as broad zones of transition.

The Pennines have ten Joint Character Areas. These are: -

  1. Border Moors and Forests
  2. Tyne Gap and Hadrian's Wallmarker
  3. North Penninesmarker
  4. Howgill Fellsmarker
  5. Yorkshire Dalesmarker
  6. Bowland Fells
  7. Southern Penninesmarker, including the West Pennine Moorsmarker
  8. Dark Peak
  9. White Peak
  10. South West Peakmarker


Croasdale Forest of Bowland.
The Bowland area of the Pennines is dominated by a central upland landform of deeply incised gritstone fells. There are vast tracts of heather covered peat moorland and blanket bog on these fells. The lower slopes of the fells are dotted with stone built farms and small villages and are criss crossed by drystone walls enclosing reclaimed moorland pasture. Cloughs, steep sided wooded valleys, link the upland and lowland landscapes. To the south-east of the area are extensive coniferous plantations and the eastern limestone areas support high quality species rich meadows.

Dales



Demography

It is a relatively sparsely populated region by English standards.

Economy

The main economic activities include sheep farming, quarrying and tourism.

Main Settlements



Transport

The three main gaps in the Pennines have always afforded communications links between the areas to the east and west. These gaps are the Tyne Gap between Carlislemarker and Newcastle upon Tynemarker followed by the A69 road, the Stainmoor Gap and the Aire Gap linking Lancashire and Yorkshire via the valleys of the rivers Aire and Ribble. The Pennines are also traversed by the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker and the M62 motorway. Elsewhere, the Pennines remain a formidable barrier to be crossed by tunnel or roads which may be blocked by snow for several days in winter.

Rail services are operated along the Huddersfield line between Huddersfield railway stationmarker and Victoriamarker and Piccadillymarker stations in Manchester. The name of the train-operating company First TransPennine Express comes from such journeys - its trains connect the North West with the North East.

History

A prehistoric settlement on Harkerside Moor in Swaledale.


Early inhabitants

The area contains many examples of Bronze Age settlements, and evidence of Neolithic settlement (including many stone circles or henges, such as Long Meg and Her Daughtersmarker.)

Celtic and Roman times

The Pennines would have come under the tribal federation of the Brigantes. This tribal federation was made up of mainly small tribes who inhabited the Pennines and cooperated on defence and external affairs. The Brigantes later evolved into an early form of kingdom.

During Roman times, the Brigantes came under Roman domination. The Romans exploited the Pennines for the natural resources and wild animals found there.

Early Middle Ages

The Pennines were a major obstacle for Anglo-Saxon expansion west. Even when they were conquered they still retained a distinct Semi-Celtic identity, which can be traced in place names today. During the Dark Ages the Pennines came under a number of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It is believed that the north of the area first came under the kingdom of Rheged. There were later three kingdoms which were solely based in the Pennines though. These were: The Kingdom of the Pennines and later the Kingdom of the Pennines broke up and was succeeded by Dunoting/Kingdom of the North Pennines and The Peak/Kingdom of the South Penninesmarker.

During Norse times the Pennines were lightly settled by Viking Danes in the east and Norwegian Vikings in the west. The Vikings left a lot of influence on placenames, even though they did not settle in great numbers. When England was unified the Pennines were incorporated into England.

Other history

The Pennines were the major route for the Jacobite attack on England. They also became highly exploited in the Victorian age.

Language

The language used in pre-Roman and Roman times was British. During the Early Middle Ages, the Cumbric language developed. However, little evidence of Cumbric remains, so it is difficult to ascertain whether or not it was a language in its own right or simply a dialect of Old Welsh. It is also uncertain as to the extent of the region in which Cumbric was spoken.

During Anglo-Saxon times (the area was settled by Anglian peoples of Mercia and Northumbria, rather than the Saxon peoples of southern England) Celtic speech remained in most areas of the Pennines longer than it did in the surrounding areas of Englandmarker. Eventually, the Celtic tongue of the Pennines was replaced by early Middle English in the 12th Century.

In Norse times, Viking settlers brought their languages of Old Norse, Old Danish (mainly in the Yorkshire Dalesmarker and parts of the Peak Districtmarker) and Old Norwegian (mainly in the western Pennines). With the eventual consolidation of England by the Saxon kingdom of Wessexmarker, the pure Norse speech died out in England, though it survived in the Pennines longer than in most areas . However, the fusion of Norse and Old English was an important part of the formation of Middle (and hence, Modern) English, and many individual words of Norse descent remain in use in local dialects, such as that of Yorkshire, and in local place names.

Norman French had little effect on the language of the Pennines though. All of the above languages have had an influence, either large or small on the modern placenames of the Pennines. The modern language of the Pennines is English.

Folklore and customs

The folklore and customs are mostly based on Celtic and Viking customs and folklore. Many customs and stories have their origin in Christianised pagan traditions.

See also



References

  1. .
  2. .
  3. .
  4. ; discussing the so-called Iter VII: "... Alpes Peninos ..." not traced (to any earlier source).
  5. A Major Place-Name Ignored
  6. 52150 Vol 2
  7. 52150 Vol 2
  8. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA10_tcm2-21072.pdf
  9. 52150 Vol 2
  10. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA21_tcm2-21079.pdf
  11. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA34_tcm2-21084.pdf
  12. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA36_tcm2-21086.pdf
  13. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA51_tcm2-21087.pdf
  14. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA52_tcm2-21149.pdf
  15. http://www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/JCA53_tcm2-27913.pdf
  16. Out of Oblivion: A landscape through time
  • Arthur Raistrick, 'The Pennine Dales', Eyre Methuen Ltd 1968, ISBN 041326760


External links




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