Category Archives: Landforms of Britain

Rambling on Kinder Scout

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The 1932 mass trespass at Kinder Scout has passed into rambling legend and is seen as a milestone in the fight for the right to roam. Located in the north of the Derbyshire Peak District, and very close to the Manchester conurbation, this moorland plateau is of outstanding beauty, with views of Snowdon on a clear day and a 30-foot waterfall that the winds blow into the sky.

But 70 years ago, Kinder Scout was a private moor reserved for grouse shooting. And the famous demonstration, organised by the British Workers Sport Federation, was very much part of the 1930s class war. The confrontation with police and game keepers on the one side and a mixed group of communists, students and ramblers on the other resulted in scuffles, arrests and prison sentences. In his statement at the dock, Bernard Rothman, one of the organisers, argued their case: Continue reading Rambling on Kinder Scout

Landscape painting and nature tourism: the Falls of Clyde


The landscape painters of the 18th century were among the first promoters of nature tourism in Britain. Their work inspired people to go on tours of wild places and admire the grandeur of nature.  One popular destination, much sketched, painted and written about, was the Falls of the Clyde in Scotland.

Jacob More’s work is a romanticised view of the highest and largest of the Falls, the Corra Linn. Viewers of the painting could identify with the group of tourists in the corner, awe-struck by this “rude slope of furious foam”, as 18th century travel writer Thomas Pennant described them. They might even be galvanized to do a trip to the wilds of Scotland themselves. Continue reading Landscape painting and nature tourism: the Falls of Clyde

How did the Needles get their name?

The western tip of the Isle of Wight peters out in a series of three jagged rocks known as the Needles.  You might think they owe their name to their sharp edges but it turns out there used to be a fourth, needle-shaped, rock called Lot’s wife, as shown in Isaac Taylor’s map of Hampshire published in 1759.  Continue reading How did the Needles get their name?

Britain’s smallest island

Britain’s smallest island lies off the south west coast at the western tip of the Scilly Isles.  Bishop Rock is also classed in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest built-on island in the world.  In fact, the only building is a lighthouse, as there isn’t room for anything else. To the west of Bishop Rock, there’s no more land till the American coast, so it bears the full brunt of Atlantic gales.  The lighthouse was built with great difficulty – the first one was washed away in 1850 before it could be used.  An enormous wave once snatched away the 550lb fog bell.  The island has not been inhabited since 1992 when the lighthouse became fully automated and the last keepers left.
The lighthouse features in the BBC’s Seven Man Made Wonders

The lowest land point in Britain

Holme Fen, Cambridgeshire

The village of of Holme Fen, specifically Holme Posts as depicted above, is probably the lowest land point in England at nearly 3 metres (9.8 ft) below sea level. Wikipedia

See also

UK’s lowest spot getting lower
“Conservationists have raised concerns that the lowest land spot in the UK is sinking.Holme Fen, a national nature reserve near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, has sunk by about four metres since draining work began in the 1850s, leaving it about 2.75 m below sea level. ” BBC

Holme Fen is a rare surviving relic of the vast fenlands that once covered the countryside in parts of East Anglia. Listen to BBC documentary about Holme Fen here.