Project Britain

The Northwest of England

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The Northwest

Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire,
Merseyside, Cumbria, Isle of Man.


A wide, fertile plain in the west slopes up to the Pennine Hills in the east. The northeastern part of the region, which lies to the east of the M6 motorway, is an area of wide-open spaces, including Bleasdale Moor and the Forest of Bowland. The region's main rivers are the Lune in the north, the Ribble and, in the south, the river Mersey, which forms a large part of the boundary between Lancashire and Cheshire.

The highest point in the region is Scafell Pike, in Cumbria, at 3209 ft / 978 m (which is also England's highest peak).

National Park - The Lake District

Cumbria is England's second largest county, covering 6810 square kilometres (2629 miles). It is known as the Lake District because it contains 15 large lakes, the biggest of which is Windermere. The county has England's biggest mountains - Scafell Pike is the highest Peak. The area of the Cumbrian mountains is the most rugged in England.

Important towns and cities

Manchester and Liverpool are the Northwest's largest cities and both are important ports. Liverpool is Britain's second largest port after London and is in the area known as Merseyside because it stands on the river Mersey. The port of Manchester lies 58 kilometres inland but is connected to the sea by the Manchester Ship Canal. Both these cities are probably best known for their football teams! Manchester and Liverpool both have busy airports. Chester is Cheshire's chief town. Another large town is Blackpool famous for its illuminations.

Liverpool is also famous as being the home of the Beatles. Their first single Love Me Do was released in October 1963.


The region became famous in the 18th century for spinning and weaving, and cotton mills and factories dotted the Lancashire landscape. The industrial revolution developed round Manchester. As cotton trade grew, mill towns replaced ancient cities. Modern Manchester's industries include clothing, banking and manufacturing.

From the medieval times Cumbria mined iron core, lead and silver. This mining and the mining for coal has mainly stopped but some steel is still made in south Cumbria. The most important industry in Cumbria is power production at the Sellafield nuclear plant.


Much of the region is rich farmland. Dairy cattle graze on the low plains between the Pennines and the hills of North Wales. Their milk is made into crumbly Cheshire or Lancashire cheese.

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