Lake District: Landscape and Geology, by Ian Francis, Stuart Holmes and Bruce Yardley
Jon Trevelyan (UK)
I recently reviewed another of the guides in Crowood Press’s excellent “Landscape and Geology” guides (see Isle of Wight: Landscape and Geology, by John Downes), which was undoubtedly a great read. And this one is equally good, with great, full colour pictures, maps and diagrams, and easy to read text, with descriptions of interesting walks and what can be seen on them.
That is, there are easy-to-understand explanations of how the rocks formed and how the geology affects the landscape, and there is also an exploration of the long human story of the landscapes.
It is almost a truism to say that the Lake District National Park contains a spectacular range of scenery, in a small northwest corner of England. As this guide points out, this extraordinary and dramatic landscape has inspired writers, climbers, painters and all who seek the solitude and beauty of the high fells. And this guide provides an explanation of the the forces that have shaped this unique environment.
In this respect, it is the intention of the three authors that the book will:
“enable you to ‘read’ the landscape, understand how the region’s rocks were formed, how glaciers and rivers sculpted the fells and valleys, and how human interaction with geology and climate has helped to create the Lake District today”.
To this end, there are also seven guided excursions to easily accessible geological locations and a dedicated website, with a Google Earth photographic guide to all the main localities mentioned in the book at: https://www.lakedistrictgeology.co.uk/. And the itineraries include some of my favourite place in the Lake District:
- Eycott Hill Nature Reserve
- The Skiddaw Granite an Sinen Gill
- Volcanic Rocks in Seathwaite
- Coniston Copper Mines
- Beatrix Potter’s Silurian Country
- Around Tarn Hows
- Limestone Landscape at Whitbarrow Scar
It follows that, if you are visiting the Lake District and are interested in its geology, this guide is a great place to start.
Ian Francis grew up near Loweswater, in the northwest Lake District, gaining his degree and PhD in geology at Oxford University. He then worked for several years in Australia, before returning to the UK to commission earth science books at Blackwell (later Wiley-Blackwell). He lives in Maryport, on the Cumbrian coast.
Stuart Holmes is a self-taught photographer from Keswick in the northern Lake District, specialising in landscape and adventure sports photography. Using a paraglider to take aerial photographs (including those in this guide) enables Stuart to capture landscapes from new perspectives, highlighting features that may not be obvious from the ground.
Bruce Yardley is Emeritus Professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, where he taught geology and geochemistry for 30 years. He has written eight academic books, published over 130 research papers, served as Science Secretary of the Geological Society and President of the Mineralogical Society.
Lake District: Landscape and Geology Paperback,by Ian Francis, Stuart Holmes and Bruce Yardley, The Crowood PressLtd (2022), 176 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-0719840111.