Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Pennines are a mountain range in England. Often said to be the "backbone of England", they form an unbroken range stretching from the Peak District in the Midlands, through the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells to the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish border. Their total distance is about 250 miles (400 km)
The mountains themselves are not very large (and are often referred to as hills for this reason), the highest being Cross Fell in eastern Cumbria, at 893 metres (2930 feet). Other principal peaks include Mickle Fell (2,585 ft) Whernside (736 m/2,415 ft), Ingleborough (723 m/2,372 ft), Pen-y-ghent (693 m/2,274 ft), and Kinder Scout (636 m/2,087 ft).
The Pennines constitute the main watershed in northern England, dividing the eastern and western parts of the country. The rivers Eden, Ribble, and Mersey all rise in the Pennines and flow westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. On the other side of the watershed, the rivers Tyne, Tees, Swale, Aire, Don, and Trent also rise in the region but flow eastwards to the North Sea.
The geology of the Pennines is dominated by extensive deposits of gritstone and limestone, which in the North Pennines has led to the formation of large underground cave systems and watercourses, known as "gills" and "pots" in the local Yorkshire dialect . Some of these are amongst the largest in England; notable examples are the chasms of Gaping Gill (over 107 m/350 ft deep) and Rowten Pot (111 m/365 ft deep). The presence of limestone has also led to some unusual geological formations in the region, such as the limestone pavements of the Yorkshire Pennines.
The landscape of the Pennines generally constitutes high upland areas of moors indented by the more fertile valleys of the region's various rivers. It is relatively sparsely populated by English standards, with the main industries including sheep farming, quarrying and tourism. The region is widely considered to be one of the most scenic areas of Britain. The North Pennines have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), while portions of the Pennines are incorporated into the Peak District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Northumberland National Park. Britain's first long distance footpath, the Pennine Way, runs the full length of the Pennine chain.
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