The Cornish Peninsula, The Pennine Chain

The Cornish Peninsula

A similar situation prevails in Devon and Cornwall. There, however, the elevation is lower than in the other old highlands; the rainfall is less; the moors are not so extensive; the lowlands are more extensive; and cattle assume a greater importance than sheep. Part of this difference is due to the fact that in winter as well as in summer the temperature here is higher than in the other highlands. This fact would be still more evident in the maps if the temperatures were given as they actually are, instead of reduced to sealevel. The difference which the higher temperature makes in habitability is easily apparent when Cornwall and Devon are compared with the other highlands. On the south coast a very dense population surrounds the city of Plymouth, while out at the end of Cornwall the ancient tin mines, and especially the one really prosperous industry, the mining of kaolin, or China clay, help to make the population dense. Nevertheless, in not much more than fifteen minutes one can drive upward from an almost semi-tropical southern valley where frost rarely comes, where winter vegetables are raised, and where fuschias are in blossom, to bare treeless Dartmoor where there are no houses for mile after mile and little scraggly ponies run wild among bogs and heather.

The Pennine Chain

Although the Pennine Chain is of more recent geological origin than the other highlands, it is geographically like them. It appears as a lobe of moderately old rocks extending southward from Scotland. It forms a relatively high region with many moors and a scanty population. The geological cross-section shows that it consists of an uplifted block of Carboniferous rocks, bent on the east and faulted on the west. In earlier times the most important geographical fact about the Pennine Chain was that its high moors made it a continuation of the great sheep region of the Cheviot Hills. Hence the woolen industry became highly developed in the habitable regions on its sides and in the low gaps which cross it at the heads of the Tyne and Aire rivers. These gaps are important because they permit easy access from one side of the Pennines to the other, and carry the lowland type of life into the very heart of the highland. In modern times the most outstanding fact about the Pennines is the extraordinary contrast between their cool, damp, treeless, rolling, grassy moors where shepherds still watch their flocks and the busy industrial regions on the coal measures only a few miles away.

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