Welcome to Great Britain and the best of British countryside!
This landscape is incredibly varied, from the sweeping coastlines to the rolling hills and majestic mountains and, with a mild climate and plenty of rain, it really is a green and pleasant land that Iím about to explore.
There are 15 national parks in Great Britain, and one of the most beautiful is here in the Lake District.
Itís the second largest national park in Britain and is full of scenic mountains and picturesque lakes.
In the heart of the Lake District is Lake Windermere - the largest natural lake in England. Itís over 18km long and around 66m deep - so itís fairly easy to find!
This area is said to be one of the most beautiful in Great Britain. In the past, boats transported slate, timber and wool across the lake, and fishing was really important here.
Hiya. One ticket for the Windermere Lake cruise, please.
Richard: Hello, Jacqui.
Jacqui: Hello, Richard.
Richard: Jacqui O'Connor of Lake Windermere Cruises is giving me a private tour of the lake.
Jacqui, this is lovely. How many people choose to see the lakes like this every year?
Jacqui: Richard, we carry on average 1.35 million passengers on our boats.
Richard: And why do you think so many people find this area appealing?
Jacqui: Oh, I think basically all you have to do is to look around you. Look at this absolutely stunning scenery. It's absolutely beautiful. They come to get away, to enjoy peace and tranquility, to come to have a look at the nature. It's also, Windermere Lake Cruises is one of the top tourist attractions in the north-west of England so when you come to this area, come and cruise on the lake, definitely Ė it must be done!
Richard: And you obviously love coming out here and love being part of all of this?
Jacqui: I do. It's fantastic. It's just a beautiful area to live. Really nice, lovely, friendly, peaceful. It's great.
Well, Iím wild about Windermere but what about Wales? Just over the border thereís some stunning countryside, at another national park. One of the most visited parks is Snowdonia in Wales. 6 million people come to visit the incredible mountains every year.
Wales is famous for its mountains, but also countryside closer to sea level. This fishing village on the north coast has 3km of sweeping bay, offering a sheltered harbour to visitors from around the world.
Countryside is Great Ė Part 2
Next weíre heading north.
Iíve come to Cairngorm National Park in Scotland, home to 5 out of 6 of the tallest mountains in Britain, and whatís more, I'm going to get to the top of that mountain without losing my breath!
If you donít fancy the hour and a half walk to the top, like me, you can ride the Cairngorm Mountain Railway.
Richard: Hiya. One ticket for the funicular, please.
The journey is 2km long, which makes this the highest railway journey in Great Britain. The train takes us to the top of the mountain Ė nearly 2000 metres above sea level. Now this is what I call mountain climbingÖ
It only takes about 7 minutes to get to the top and itís the best way to experience the peaks in all weather conditions.
And here we are right at the top. It might be very windy, but just look at the views Ė absolutely incredible.
The views across Cairngorm National Park are stunning and you can see why this is Britainís largest nature reserve.
Colin Kirkwood knows the Cairngorms better than most and works at the Mountain Railway.
Richard: What can we see at the top of Cairngorm mountain?
Colin: Well, you get a wonderful view from here. Looking down you can see over Loch Morlich, which is a famous beauty spot in this area, but you also get wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. You can see Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain, to the west, and to the north, some eighty miles away, you can see Ben Hope.
Richard: Great Britain has a lot of mountains. What makes this one stand out?
Colin: Well, this is the sixth highest mountain in Britain. It's also a wonderful place for people to come to walk, to climb and, of course, to enjoy snow sports.
Richard: What kind of wildlife can we see?
Colin: Well, if you're lucky, you may see ptarmigan on the mountain, it's kind of like an iconic bird for this area, and also a dotterel, which is a rare and protected species, and you might well see some mountain hare as well.
Richard: What do you love most about it?
Colin: Well, I think it's a very special place to work. To me, it's a real privilege to be able to work in this kind of mountain environment and to enthuse about it to other people and attract them to coming here.
Another one of Scotlandís famous landmarks is Loch Ness. Itís 37km long and 239m deep at the deepest point, and some say it has its own monster!
The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is just a shot trip across the water. This world heritage site is the most popular tourist attraction in the area.
Around 40 thousand rock columns were formed by the eruption of a volcano here, thousands of years ago. The tallest of the columns are around 12 metres high.
The British coastline offers both beauty and variety.
This is the Jurassic coast in Dorset. It could be as old as a quarter of a billion years and that amazing arch is called Durdle Door, and itís one of the most photographed landmarks along this coast.
Durdle Door is a huge natural limestone arch near to Lulworth Cove on the south coast of England and is owned by the Lulworth Estate.
This area is part of 153km of natural World Heritage coastline. Itís a geological or rock formation walk through time.
Looking after this countryside is an important job. Sarah Spurling is a countryside ranger.
Richard: Wow! A beautiful sunset, Sarah. Is this the best time to see Durdle Door?
Sarah: It's a lovely time to see it. It's lovely every time of day, but it's pretty beautiful, isn't it?
Richard: Yeah, absolutely. Tell me about the actual rock itself.
Sarah: Well, Durdle Door is a beautiful limestone arch, carved out with the power of the sea. It could be at least a thousand years old and it's one of the most magnificent features in Britain.
Richard: How exactly did it form?
Sarah: Well, Durdle Door used to be part of a big wall of rock that joins up with rocks you see in the water. That would have been the old coastline many thousands of years ago. The sea's worn it down over many years, leaving behind the rocks that you see now. The softer rocks behind it were eroded much more quickly, leaving Durdle Door sticking out into the water.
Richard: This whole coastline is really special, isn't it?
Sarah: Yeah, it is. I mean, it's special because of wonderful natural features like Durdle Door, also the sheer variety of landscapes and environments you can enjoy.
Richard: And it's quite environmentally sensitive.
Sarah: The nature of the landscape round here means that the area has escaped much of the development and modern farming that you see in other areas, and so the features and the wildlife that remain are good examples of what once may have been common.
Richard: Thanks, Sarah. Shall we enjoy the view?
Sarah: Let's enjoy the view.
Do you know what? Iíve truly discovered the most amazing countryside, and itís all here in Great Britain.
2. STUDY THE INFORMATION ABOUT SOME OF BRITAINíS NATIONAL PARKS:
THE LAKE DISTRICT
There are 15 national parks in Great Britain, and one of the most beautiful is in the Lake District. Itís the second largest national park in Britain and is full of scenic mountains and picturesque lakes. In the heart of the Lake District is Lake Windermere - the largest natural lake in England. Itís over 18km long and around 66m deep. This area is said to be one of the most beautiful in Great Britain. In the past, boats transported slate, timber and wool across the lake, and fishing was really important here. More than a million people visit this place every year and enjoy stunning scenery, peace and tranquility.