Lake District, the name applied to the picturesque and mountainous region comprised within the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and a small portion of Lancashire, within which are grouped as many as sixteen lakes or meres, besides innumerable mountain tarns and streams, and a series of mountains rising in four points to a height of over 3000 feet. The district extends about 30 miles from north to south by about 25 from east to west, and contains within its compass the utmost variety and wealth of natural scenery ; it is fringed by such considerable towns as Penrith, Kendal, Lancaster, Barrow, Cocker-mouth, and Whitehaven. The principal lakes are Windermere, Esthwaite Water, and Coniston in the south ; Ullswater and Hawes Water in the east; Bassenthwaite in the north; Wast Water, Ennerdale Water, Buttennere, and Crurnmock Water in the west; and Derwentwater, Thirlmere, Grasmere, and Rydal Water in the heart of the district. The highest mountain-summits are Sea-fell Pike (3210 feet), Scafell (3161 feet), Helvellyn (3118 feet), and Skiddaw (3060 feet). The lakes are fed and emptied by beautiful mountain-streams and becks, often forming noble waterfalls or forces. Among the places most visited are the towns or villages of Keswick, Coniston, Bowness, Hawkeshead, Ambleside, Ulverston, Rosthwaite, Grasmere, Patterdale, and Borrowdale; the Lang-dale Pikes; the Duddon Valley, Honister Pass, and Kirkstone Pass ; the Castle Rock of St John, celebrated in Scott's Bridal of Triermain; and such minor but imposing mountain-peaks as Blencathara or Saddleback (2847 feet), near Keswick ; Coniston Old Man (2633), near Coniston ; and the Great Gable (2950), near Wastdale Head.
See Wordsworth's Description of the Scenery of the Lakes (1822); Professor Knight's English Lake District, as interpreted by Wordsworth (new ed.
1891), and his Through the Wordsworth Country (1887); also Harriet Martineau's English Lakes (1858), and books by Bonney (1876), Waugh, Rawnsley, Bradley, and Collingwood (1902).