Case study - the Lake District

Land uses

Land Uses for Glaciated UplandsLand uses for glaciated uplands


Low temperatures mean that the growing season is too short to grow crops. A lack of sunshine means crops will not ripen. The slopes are too steep for modern farming machinery to be used.

The high rainfall washes nutrients from the soil, leaving it thin, acidic and infertile.

Flatter areas in valleys are often marshy making it impossible to grow crops there. Sheep are hardy and can survive in these cold, harsh environments- on the upper slopes of U-shaped valleys. Hill sheep farming is the most common type of farming. On the valley floors, cattle can graze where the land is flatter and the grass is of better quality.

Hay is grown to feed animals in winter. Diversification (non-farming activities) also enables farmers to earn extra income, eg from providing B&B’s accommodation for tourists.


Commercial forestry can take place on the lower, gentler slopes of U-shaped valleys where conditions are less harsh and soils are better quality.


A view of Grasmere
A view of Grasmere

The main industry in the area is quarrying for stone. Local slate is used in roofing and to repair stone walls. Granite is used in making roads and limestone is used in steelmaking.

Recreation and tourism

Tourists visits the Lake District for its natural picturesque scenery and variety of activities. The Lake District is also close to many urban areas, eg Carlisle, and has excellent motorways access. Ribbon lakes such as Lake Windermere provide excellent opportunities for water based activities such as water skiing, fishing and boat trips.

Arêtes provide great opportunities for hill walking, while pyramidal peaks are good for rock climbing. Corries also provide excellent opportunities for winter sports such as skiing. Historical and cultural attractions such as the Beatrix Potter exhibition also attract people to the region.

Water storage and supply

The high rainfall ensures that lakes in this region, can be used to supply fresh drinking water to nearby towns and cities. The hard rocks provide excellent geological conditions for water storage in reservoirs.

Renewable energy

Hydroelectric power (HEP) hanging valleys are dammed to generate electricity using the force of the water from rivers.