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The Pennines the main English highland area. running south to north along the centre of England from the north Midlands through several counties right up to the Scottish border. As such, they are referred to as the 'backbone of Britain'.

The highest hill in the range is Cross Fell in Cumbria (2930 feet). The only higher mountains in England are in the nearby Lake District. Other notable hills of the Pennines are Kinder Scout (Derbyshire), Ingleborough Hill and Pen-y-Ghent (Yorkshire) and Whernside (Cumbria).

The central Pennines are formed from the Jurassic limestone of the Alston Tilt Block. In addition to typical karst landscape of scarps and limestone pavements on the surface, there are many caves in the Yorkshire Dales,[1] including Britain's longest cave system, the Easegill System, and its deepest single shaft at Gaping Ghyll. There are also caves in the Peak District.[2]


A bleak and sparsely inhabited region, the Pennines are predominantly a sheep-farming area, though historically a number of mines operated in the range and their remains can still be seem in places. Amongst the few towns of the region, of interest are Alston, England's highest market town, Hawes, Settle (terminus of the Settle-Carlisle railway, that runs along the range), Skipton, Hebden Bridge and Buxton.

Tourism and recreation

The Pennines are home to three National Parks; the Peak District National Park (largely in Derbyshire), the Yorkshire Dales National Park in Yorkshire, and the Northumberland National Park. Britains premier long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way, runs the length of the range from Kirk Yetholm on the Scottish border to Edale in Derbyshire.[3]