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Cumbria (/ˈkʌmbriə/ 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, and the only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the southwestern tip of the county.

The county of Cumbria consists of six districts (Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden, and South Lakeland) and in 2008 had a population of just under 500,000 people. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom, with 73.4 people per km2 (190/sq mi).

Cumbria is the third largest county in England by area, and is bounded to the north by the Scottish council areas of Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders, to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the southeast by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland.

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 southeast 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 Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet (978 m) being the highest point of 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).

County Flag of Cumbria.svgCumbria County Council coat of arms.jpg
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Ad Montes Oculos Levavi" ("I have lifted up mine eyes unto the hills")
Cumbria within England
Coordinates:54°30′N 3°15′W [71]
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth West
Established1 April 1974
Established byLocal Government Act 1972
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantClaire Hensman
High SheriffMarcia Reid Fotheringham, JP [1] (2019–2020)
Area6,768 km2(2,613 sq mi)
 • Ranked3rd of 48
Population (mid-2018 est.)498,400
 • Ranked41st of 48
Density73/km2(190/sq mi)
Ethnicity97.5% White British
0.1% White Irish
0.1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
1.1% Other White
0.1% White & Black Caribbean
0.1% White & Black African
0.2% White & Asian
0.1% Other Mixed
0.2% Indian
0.1% Pakistani
0.1% Bangladeshi
0.2% Chinese
0.2% Other Asian
0.1% Black African
0.1% Other
Non-metropolitan county
County councilCumbria County Council
ExecutiveConservative / Labour / Independent
Admin HQCarlisle
Area6,768 km2(2,613 sq mi)
 • Ranked2nd of 27
 • Ranked26th of 27
Density73/km2(190/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-CMA
ONS code16
GSS codeE10000006
Websitewww.cumbria.gov.uk [72]
Districts of Cumbria
  1. Barrow-in-Furness
  2. South Lakeland
  3. Copeland
  4. Allerdale
  5. Eden
  6. City of Carlisle
Members of ParliamentList of MPs
PoliceCumbria Constabulary
Time zoneGreenwich Mean Time (UTC)
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time (UTC+1)


The Castlerigg stone circle dates from the late Neolithic age and was constructed by some of the earliest inhabitants of Cumbria

The Castlerigg stone circle dates from the late Neolithic age and was constructed by some of the earliest inhabitants of Cumbria

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. 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 town, 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.

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 and most visitors.


Topographic map of Cumbria

Topographic map of Cumbria

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.

Boundaries and divisions

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.[15] 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.

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.[16] 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:


  • Associated British Ports Holdings own and operate the port of Silloth.[17]

  • Plastic film maker Innovia Films has its headquarters and only UK factory in Wigton, which employs almost 1,000 people and is Wigton's biggest employer.

  • Sealy Beds UK (which is part of the Silentnight Group) own a factory at Aspatria, which employs around 300 people.

  • Carr’s Group plc, which is based in Carlisle, owned a large factory at Silloth which makes the 'Carr's Breadmaker' range and at one time Carr's farm feeds. This has been sold to Whitworths.

  • Window maker West Port Windows owns a large factory at Maryport, which makes UPVC windows and doors.

  • Jennings Brewery Plc (now owned by Marston's Plc), a real ale brewery, based in Cockermouth.

  • World rally company M-Sport has its headquarters at Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, near Cockermouth.

  • Swedish paper maker Iggesund Paperboard has its only UK factory at Siddick, near Workington.

  • U.S.-based Eastman Chemical Company had a factory at Siddick, near Workington. It made plastic bottle pellets (PBP) and products for the smoking industry and employed 100 people. This has been subsequently demolished and production transferred overseas.

  • Steel company Tata Steel owns a cast products plant at Workington, which employs 300 people.

  • Eddie Stobart Logistics owns a large warehouse at Workington, which was once owned by truck and bus maker Leyland.

  • Packaging company Amcor owns the former Alcan packaging plant at Salterbeck, Workington.

  • James Walker Ltd, an international high-performance sealing manufacturer, has a large factory at Cockermouth.


  • Barrow's shipyard is one of the UK's largest. BAE Systems is the current owner and employs around 5,000.[18]

  • Associated British Ports Holdings own and operate the port of Barrow.[19]

  • The only Kimberly-Clark mill in the North of England is located in Barrow.[20]

  • James Fisher & Sons, a large provider of marine engineering services, is based in Barrow.[21]

  • One of the largest single-site furniture stores in the UK, Stollers, is located in Barrow.[22]


  • Close to 1,000 people work in one of only two Pirelli tyre plants in the UK.[23]

  • Carr's is a successful foodstuff and agricultural brand that was established in 1831 in Carlisle.[24]

  • Stobart Group owns the Carlisle Lake District Airport and its rail maintenance business is based in Carlisle.

  • Eddie Stobart, which is one of the UK's largest logistics companies, used to be headquartered in Carlisle.[25]

  • Nestlé operates a factory on the outskirts of Carlisle.[26]

  • Cavaghan & Gray (owned by the by 2 Sisters Food Group) is a food manufacturing business based in Carlisle and a significant employer in the city.

  • Crown Holdings owns two factories in Carlisle, locally known as 'Metal Box'. Both factories make products for the beverage industry.

  • Edinburgh Woollen Mill announced plans to move their HQ from Langholm, Scottish Borders to Carlisle.[27]


  • Sellafield is the largest private employer in the county; many West Cumbrians have links to the site.[28]


  • Center Parcs owns a large resort in Whinfell Forest near Penrith.[29]

  • Logistics company Eddie Stobart Logistics, own a large transport depot at Penrith.

  • National sawdust, animal bedding, bark suppliers and road hauliers A W Jenkinson are headquartered at Clifton, Penrith.

South Lakeland

  • Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline operates a large factory in Ulverston.[30]

  • International kitchenware retailer Lakeland has its headquarters and flagship store in Windermere.[31]

  • Farley Health Products, a subsidiary of the Heinz Company, runs a factory in Kendal.[32]


The entrance to Whinlatter Forest Park

The entrance to Whinlatter Forest Park

Sizergh Castle

Sizergh Castle

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

The largest and most widespread industry in Cumbria is tourism. The Lake District National Park alone receives some 15.8 million visitors every year.[33] Despite this, fewer than 50,000 people reside permanently within the Lake District – mostly in Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Coniston, Keswick, Grasmere and Windermere.[33] 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,[33] Europe, North America and the Far East (particularly Japan).[33] 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).[34]

1Windermere Lake CruisesBowness-on-Windermere1,313,807
3Ullswater SteamersGlenridding348,000
4Whinlatter Forest Park and Visitor CentreWhinlatter252,762
5Tullie House Museum and Art GalleryCarlisle251,808
6Grizedale Forest Park and Visitor CentreGrizedale175,033
7Carlisle CathedralCarlisle166,141
8Brockhole Lake District Visitor CentreWindermere135,539
9Hill TopHawkshead103,682
10Sizergh CastleSizergh Castle90,063
11Cumberland Pencil MuseumKeswick80,100
12Muncaster CastleRavenglass78,474
13Dock MuseumBarrow-in-Furness73,239
14The BeaconWhitehaven71,602
15Holker HallCartmel58,060
16Carlisle CastleCarlisle56,957
17Beatrix Potter GalleryHawkshead47,244
18Lake District Wildlife Park[35]Bassenthwaite45,559
19The Homes of FootballAmbleside49,661
20Cartmel PrioryCartmel43,672

Economic output

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of East Cumbria at current basic prices published [73] (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

YearRegional Gross Value Added[36]Agriculture[37]Industry[38]Services[39]

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of West Cumbria at current basic prices published [74] (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

YearRegional Gross Value Added[36]Agriculture[37]Industry[38]Services[39]


Barrow and Furness CON Cecil Franks LAB John Hutton IND John Woodcock
Carlisle LAB Ronald Lewis LAB Eric Martlew CON John Stevenson
Copeland LAB Jack Cunningham LAB Jamie Reed CON Trudy Harrison
Penrith and The Border CON David Maclean CON Rory Stewart
Westmorland and Lonsdale CON Michael Jopling CON Tim Collins LD Tim Farron
Workington LAB Dale Campbell-Savours LAB Tony Cunningham LAB Sue Hayman
General Election 2015: Cumbria
ConservativeLabourLiberal DemocratsUKIPGreenIndependentTurnout
Overall Number of seats as of 2017
LabourConservativeLiberal DemocratsUKIPGreenIndependent


The University of Cumbria's Fusehill Campus in Carlisle

The University of Cumbria's Fusehill Campus in Carlisle

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.

Colleges of further education in Cumbria include:-

  • Carlisle College,

  • Furness College which includes Barrow Sixth Form College,

  • Kendal College,

  • Lakes College West Cumbria.

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 motorway and West Coast Main Line near Grayrigg Forest

The M6 motorway and West Coast Main Line near Grayrigg Forest

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:

  • A6 (Luton, Bedfordshire to Carlisle via Kendal and Penrith)

  • A66 (Workington to Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire via Keswick, Penrith and Brough)

  • A69 (Carlisle to Newcastle upon Tyne via Brampton and Hexham)

  • A590 (M6 Junction 36 to Barrow-in-Furness via Ulverston)

  • A591 (Sizergh to Bothel via Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick)

  • A592 (M6 Junction 40 to Newby Bridge via Penrith, Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere)

  • A595 (Carlisle to Dalton-in-Furness via Whitehaven and Workington)

  • A596 (Carlisle to Workington)

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.


The largest settlements in Cumbria

The largest settlements in Cumbria

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).[40] 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.[41] The 2001 UK Census showed the following most common countries of birth for Cumbrians that year:

  • England – 454,137

  • Scotland – 16,628

  • Wales – 3,471

  • Northern Ireland – 2,289

  • Germany – 1,438

  • Republic of Ireland – 1,359

  • South Africa – 603

  • Canada – 581

  • Australia – 531

  • United States – 493

  • India – 476

  • Hong Kong – 417

  • Italy – 249

  • New Zealand – 241

  • France – 197

  • Poland – 193

  • Cyprus – 174

  • Netherlands – 167

  • Spain – 166

  • Singapore – 160

Population totals for Cumbria
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Pre-1974 statistics were gathered from local government areas that are now comprised by Cumbria
Source: Great Britain Historical GIS.[42][43]


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.

Administration borough/districtCentre of administrationOther towns, villages and settlements
Allerdale UK locator map.svg
Barrow-in-Furness UK locator map.svg
Barrow-in-FurnessDuke Street, Barrow-in-Furness.jpgAskam and Ireleth
Walney Island
Carlisle UK locator map.svg
Copeland UK locator map.svg
WhitehavenWhitehaven - geograph.org.uk - 19798.jpgArlecdon and Frizington
Cleator Moor
St Bees
Eden UK locator map.svg
PenrithMarket Square, Penrith.jpgAlston
Kirkby Stephen
South Lakeland UK locator map.svg
South Lakeland
KendalBusy street - geograph.org.uk - 406931.jpgAmbleside
Kirkby Lonsdale

Town and city twinnings

SettlementDistrictTwinned settlement
CarlisleCarlisleGermanyFlensburg, Germany
PolandSłupsk, Poland
CockermouthAllerdaleFranceMarvejols, France
Dalton-in-FurnessBarrow-in-FurnessUnited StatesDalton, Pennsylvania, United States
KendalSouth LakelandRepublic of IrelandKillarney, Ireland
GermanyRinteln, Germany
PenrithEdenAustraliaPenrith, New South Wales, Australia
SedberghSouth LakelandSloveniaZreče, Slovenia
UlverstonSouth LakelandFranceAlbert, France
WhitehavenCopelandBulgariaKozloduy, Bulgaria[44]
WindermereSouth LakelandGermanyDiessen am Ammersee, Germany
WorkingtonAllerdaleGermanySelm, Germany
FranceVal-de-Reuil, France

Symbols and county emblems

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).[45]

The county council motto "Ad Montes Oculos Levavi" is Latin, from Psalm 121; ("I shall lift up mine eyes unto the hills").[45]

The county flag of Cumbria is a banner of arms of Cumbria County Council.[46][47]



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


Carlisle United are the only professional football team in Cumbria and currently play in League Two (4th Tier in the English football pyramid). They attract support from across Cumbria and beyond, with many Cumbrian "ex-pats" travelling to see their games, both home and away.

Barrow and Workington A.F.C.—who are always known locally as "the reds"—are well-supported non-league teams, having both been relegated from the Football League in the 1970s, with Barrow being one of the best supported non-league football teams in England. Recently Workington A.F.C. have made a rapid rise up the non league ladder and in 2007/08 competed with Barrow in the Conference North (Tier 6). Barrow were then promoted to the Blue Square Premier (Tier 5) in 2007/08.

Rugby league

Rugby league is a very popular sport in South and West Cumbria. Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington play in the Rugby League National Leagues and Carlisle in the Rugby League Conference. Amateur teams; Wath Brow Hornets, Askam, Egremont Rangers, Kells, and Millom play in the National Conference.

Rugby union

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.


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.


Workington Comets are a Workington based professional speedway team,[48] which competes in the British Speedway Championship.[49]


Uppies and Downies

Workington is home to the ball game known as Uppies and Downies,[50] a traditional version of football, with its origins in Medieval football or an even earlier form.[51] Players from outside Workington do take part, especially fellow West Cumbrians from Whitehaven and Maryport.[52]


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,[53] while other historians associate it with the Cornish and Gouren styles[54] indicating that it may have developed out of a longer-standing Celtic tradition.[55]

American football Cumbria is home to the Walney Terriers and the Carlisle Border Reivers, which are rival amateur American football teams, despite a relatively low level of interest in the sport throughout the county.

Karting Cumbria Kart Racing Club is based at the Lakeland Circuit, Rowrah, between Cockermouth and Egremont [3] [75] . The track is currently a venue for rounds of both major UK national karting championships [4] [76] . 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,[56] 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).[57]

Dialect influences


  • Cumbria – Celtic speaking until Viking invasion, if not later (Cymry)[58]

  • little English spoken in Cumberland, relatively sparsely populated until 12th/13th century[59]

  • Successful routing of indigenous Celtic peoples to Western highlands of Cumbria, Wales and Cornwall by the invading Angles and Saxons, with little linguistic consequence, apart from scattering of residual place-names

  • Northwest – possibility of direct influence from Irish Gaelic across Irish Sea via Whitehaven until 10th century[60]

  • Celtic influence/kingdoms may have confirmed perception of difference between the North/South[58]

  • linguistic interaction between Celts and English underrated, effectively Celtic influence marked the beginnings of a linguistic divide between English and other West-Germanic dialects[61]

  • Lexis - Celtic influence left specifically on the sound pattern of sheep-scoring numerals of Cumbrian and West Yorkshire [58]

  • Loss of inflections may be explained by contact with Celtic tribes and inter-marriage [58]


  • Earliest Anglo-Saxon settlements in the east of England. Took over 200 years to establish a frontier in the west where the displaced British had settled[62]

  • Morphology – Old Northumbrian (little evidence) signs of loss of inflexions long before southern dialects below the Humber, precede Viking settlements and dialect contact situation[58]

Scandinavian/Norse/ Dane

  • Lack of extent of Old English written evidence[58]

  • Main attacks/raids on the North-East coast at Lindisfarne and Jarrow in 793/ 794[58]

  • Settlement patterns (Danes) contributed to emerging differences over time between Northumberland. Durham and Yorkshire dialects [58]

  • Norwegian settlers via Ireland to Isle of Man, Mersey estuary (901) and the Cumbrian/ Lancashire coasts (900-50) – dialectal differences (Danes/ Norwegians) often lumped together in standard histories – MUST have confirmed emerging dialectal differences east and west of the Pennines[58]

  • Danelaw – land of north and east of land ruled under Danish law and Danish customs (978-1016) [58]

  • Scandinavian influences vocabulary common words gradually diffused/ entered word stock (borrowings) which survive in regional use – ‘fell’ hillside, ‘lug’ ear, ‘loup’ jump, ‘aye’ yes

  • Influence on grammatical structure - Middle English texts reveal that present participle form ‘-and’, and possible that use of ‘at’ and ‘as’ as relative pronouns from Cumbria to East Yorkshire[58]

  • ****phonetically /g/, /k/ and cluster /sk/ have a northern/ Norse pronunciation /j/, /ʧ/ and /ʃ/ which are West Saxon – hard vs. soft consonants of North/South dialects – e.g. ‘give/ rigg’ ridge, ‘skrike’ shriek, ‘kist’ chest and ‘ik’[58]

  • ‘interdialect forms’ in Danelaw area (diffuse > focussed situation) - no clear idea about what language they were speaking – mixture of Old English and Norse e.g. ‘she’ (3rd person pronoun) is claimed by both languages[58][63]

  • ‘bilingualism was norm in areas under Danelaw (plausible)[58]

  • Norse runic inscriptions survive from 11th century in Cumbria therefore may only been after Norman Conquest that ‘Norse as a living language died out’[64]

  • Norse surviving longest in closed communities, as in the Lake District[65]


  • Jewell (1994: 20) - Northumbria retained relative independence until 13th century – effective government of North by Normans ‘petered-out’ at Lake District and North of Tees (not recorded in Domesday Book)[66]

  • Carlisle retaken by Scots in 1136[58]


  • Early 10th century - all of the northwest of England occupied by a mixture of newcomers from Ireland of mixed Vikings and Gaelic. The grip from Northumbrian on the former territory of Rheged was that of Britons of Strathcylde reoccupied southwest Scotland and northwest England as far south as Derwent and Penrith[67] which was held until Carlisle retaken by Scots in 1136[58]

  • Cumbric perhaps survived but faded into the early 12th century throughout Cumbria[68]

  • Cumbric score – counting sheep – Welsh correspondence Welsh (un, dau, tri) – Cumberland (yan, tyan, tethera) – Westmorland (yan, than, teddera) – Lancashire (yan, taen, tedderte) – West Yorkshire (yain, tain, eddero) [67] survived 7-8 centuries after the language itself had died – Brittonic origin

  • Not one single complete phrase in Cumbric survives, evidence to suggest strong literary tradition, probably oral, some of this early material is known in a Welsh version**[67]**


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.

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 Lancashire and Cumbria, 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)[69][70] and Kendal Mountain Festival.

Places of interest

AP Icon.svgAbbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open spaceAccessible open space
Themepark uk icon.pngAmusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svgCastle
Country ParkCountry Park
EH icon.svgEnglish Heritage
Forestry Commission
Heritage railwayHeritage railway
Historic houseHistoric House
Museum (free)
Museum (free/not free)
National TrustNational Trust
Zoo icon.jpgZoo
  • Abbot Hall Art GalleryMuseum
  • Appleby CastleCastle
  • Appleby Horse Fair (Gypsy fair)
  • Armitt Museum and Library, Ambleside
  • Bassenthwaite Lake
  • Bewcastle
  • Black Combe
  • BlackwellHistoric House
  • BrantwoodHistoric House
  • Brough CastleCastleEH icon.svg
  • Brougham CastleCastleEH icon.svg
  • Brougham Hall
  • Broughton in Furness
  • Brougham Castle
  • Buttermere
  • Cartmel PrioryPriory
  • Carlisle CastleCastleEH icon.svg
  • Carlisle CathedralCathedral
  • Castlerigg Stone Circle
  • Church of St Olaf, Wasdale
  • Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk
  • Cockermouth, "Gem" Town
  • Coniston Water
  • Crummock Water
  • Cumbria Coastal Way long distance footpath
  • Cumbria Way long distance footpath
  • Dales Way long distance footpath
  • Dalton CastleCastleNTE icon.svg
  • Derwent Water
  • Dock MuseumMuseum
  • Dove Cottage
  • Egremont CastleCastleEH icon.svg
  • Eden Valley Railway
  • Ennerdale Water
  • Eskdale
  • Fell Foot ParkCounty Park
  • Firbank Fell
  • Fisher Tarn Reservoir
  • Furness
  • Furness AbbeyAbbey
  • Grange-Over-Sands
  • Haig Colliery Mining MuseumMuseum
  • Harrison Stickle
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • Hartley Castle
  • Haweswater
  • Hawkshead Grammar School Museum
  • Hill Top
  • Hoad Monument
  • Hodbarrow Nature Reserve
  • Holker HallHistoric House
  • Kendal CastleCastleUKAL icon.svg
  • Kentmere
  • Killington Reservoir
  • Kirkby Lonsdale
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railwayheritage railway
  • Langwathby railway station
  • Windermere
  • Lakeland Wildlife OasisZoo icon.jpg
  • Lanercost PrioryPriory
  • Laurel & Hardy Museum
  • Levens HallHistoric House
  • Millom
  • Millom Folk MuseumMuseum
  • Muncaster CastleCastleHistoric HouseEH icon.svg
  • Museum of Lakeland LifeMuseum
  • National Nature Reserves in Cumbria
  • Pennine Way long distance footpath
  • Penrith CastleCastleEH icon.svg
  • Piel IslandCastleEH icon.svg
  • Quaker tapestry
  • RAF Millom MuseumMuseum
  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway – heritage railwayHeritage Railway
  • Rey Cross
  • Rheged
  • Rydal Water
  • Sea to Sea Cycle Route
  • Seathwaite Tarn
  • Sellafield Nuclear Reprocessing Facility
  • Silecroft
  • Silloth on Solway
  • Sizergh Castle & GardenCastleNTE icon.svg
  • Skelton Transmitting Station (U.Ks. tallest structure)
  • South Lakes Safari ZooZoo icon.jpg
  • St Bees
  • St Bees PrioryPriory
  • St Bees Head
  • Staveley
  • Stott Park Bobbin Mill
  • Swarthmoor Hall
  • Thirlmere
  • Ullswater
  • Ulverston
  • Vickerstown
  • Wasdale Head
  • Wast Water
  • Whitehaven
  • Whinfell Forest
  • Windermere Steamboat MuseumMuseum

Notable people

  • Richard Abbot

  • Abraham Acton

  • Jack Adams

  • Aim

  • Sir John Barrow

  • Derrick Bird

  • Bill Birkett

  • Norman Birkett

  • Chris Bonington

  • British Sea Power

  • Melvyn Bragg

  • Baron Campbell-Savours

  • Donald Campbell

  • Thomas Cape

  • Fletcher Christian

  • Lady Anne Clifford

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Glenn Cornick

  • Mark Cueto

  • Wayne Curtis

  • John Dalton

  • Kyle Dempsey

  • Thomas DeQuincey

  • Steve Dixon

  • Brian Donnelly

  • Troy Donockley

  • Francis Dunnery

  • Margaret Fell

  • Sheila Fell

  • Anna Ford

  • Douglas Ferreira

  • Kathleen Ferrier

  • George MacDonald Fraser

  • Norman Gifford

  • Edmund Grindal

  • Ade Gardner

  • Sarah Hall

  • Willie Horne

  • Francis Howgill

  • Emlyn Hughes

  • Thomas Henry Ismay

  • Maurice Flitcroft

  • Harry Hadley

  • Dick Huddart

  • Brad Kavanagh

  • Nigel Kneale

  • Phil Jackson

  • Stuart Lancaster

  • Nella Last

  • Stan Laurel

  • Jimmy Lewthwaite

  • Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale

  • Ian McDonald

  • Frank McPherson

  • Christine McVie

  • Vic Metcalfe

  • Glenn Murray

  • Dave Myers

  • Joss Naylor

  • Norman Nicholson

  • Saint Ninian

  • Catherine Parr

  • Baron Peart

  • John Peel

  • Jack Pelter

  • Beatrix Potter

  • Peter Purves

  • Sir James Ramsden

  • Dame Stella Rimington

  • Eric Robson

  • George Romney

  • Jon Roper

  • Sol Roper

  • Thomas Round

  • Adam Roynon

  • John Ruskin

  • Gavin Skelton

  • Helen Skelton

  • Montagu Slater

  • Richard T. Slone

  • James Alexander Smith

  • Robert Southey

  • Lord Soulsby

  • Constance Spry

  • Gary Stevens

  • Eddie Stobart

  • Edward Stobart

  • William Stobart

  • Stuart Stockdale

  • Ben Stokes

  • Karen Taylor

  • Edward Troughton

  • Keith Tyson

  • Josefina de Vasconcellos

  • Alfred Wainwright

  • Eric Wallace

  • William Whitelaw

  • John Wilkinson

  • Len Wilkinson

  • Malcolm Wilson

  • Christopher Wordsworth

  • Dorothy Wordsworth

  • William Wordsworth

See also

  • Anglo-Scottish border

  • Cumbria County Council

  • Cumbrian dialect Barrovian

  • Cumbric language

  • Cumbrian toponymy

  • Etymology of Cumbrian Place Names

  • Healthcare in Cumbria

  • List of Cumbria-related topics

  • List of High Sheriffs of Cumbria

  • List of Lord Lieutenants of Cumbria

  • Cumbria Constabulary

  • Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

  • Outline of England

  • Rose Castle


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