Borrowdale shown within Cumbria
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Borrowdale lies within the historic county boundaries of Cumberland, and is sometimes referred to as Cumberland Borrowdale in order to distinguish it from another Borrowdale in the historic county of Westmorland.
The valley rises in the central Lake District and runs north carrying the River Derwent into the lake of Derwent Water. The waters of the River have their origins over a wide area of the central massif of the Lake District north of Esk Hause and Stake Pass, including draining the northern end of Scafell including Great End, the eastern side of the Dale Head massif, the western part of the Central Fells and all of the Glaramara ridge. Near Rosthwaite the side valley of Langstrath joins the main valley from Seathwaite before the combined waters negotiate the narrow gap known as the Jaws of Borrowdale. Here it is flanked by the rocky crags of Castle Crag and Grange Fell. The valley then opens out around Grange before the river empties into Derwent Water, overlooked by Catbells, Skiddaw and Walla Crag.
The valley lends its name to the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, a geological development from the Ordovician period. This rock makes up most of the mountains at the head of Borrowdale, including Scafell Pike and Great Gable.
The civil parish of Borrowdale covers a considerable area around the valley, including the southern half of Derwent Water. It includes the settlements of Grange, Rosthwaite, Seathwaite, Seatoller, Stonethwaite and Watendlath. It lies entirely within the Lake District National Park. At the time of the 2001 census the parish had a population of 438 living in 137 households.
For local government purposes the civil parish forms part of the district of Allerdale within the county of Cumbria. It is within the Workington constituency of the United Kingdom Parliament, and the North West England constituency of the European Parliament.
The valley is a very popular tourist location, with hotels, guesthouses, holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts, youth hostels and campsites, catering for the lowland visitor as well as the hill-walker who can choose from a very wide range of popular mountains, including all the above-mentioned fells as well as England's highest, Scafell Pike.
Some time prior to 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered near the Seathwaite hamlet in Borrowdale parish. The locals found that it was very useful for marking sheep. This particular deposit of graphite was extremely pure and solid and it could easily be sawed into sticks, and so the pencil industry was born in nearby Keswick. This was and remains the only deposit of graphite ever found in this solid form.
Borrowdale in literature 
In the first of Hugh Walpole's series of four novels about the Herries family, Rogue Herries, Borrowdale is the site of a fictional house called Herries, the home of Francis Herries, the protagonist of this novel. Subsequent novels in the series are also largely set in Borrowdale. The valley and its surrounding mountains are described in sympathetic detail. Walpole himself had a house at Catbells overlooking Derwent Water from 1924 until his death in 1941.
- "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
- "Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Allerdale". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- Martin and Jean Norgate, Geography Department, Portsmouth University (2008). "Old Cumbria Gazetteer, black lead mine, Seathwaite". Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- Alfred Wainwright (2005). A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Western Fells. ISBN 0-7112-2460-9.
- Parnell, J. (2009). "Genesis of the graphite deposit at Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Cumbria". Geological Magazine 119 (05): 511. doi:10.1017/S0016756800026868.
- Strens, R. G. J. (2009). "The Graphite Deposit of Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Cumberland". Geological Magazine 102 (05): 393. doi:10.1017/S0016756800053668.
- Weis, P; Friedman, I; Gleason, J (1981). "The origin of epigenetic graphite: evidence from isotopes". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 45 (12): 2325–2332. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(81)90086-7.
- Ortega, L.; Millward, D.; Luque, F.J.; Barrenechea, J.F.; Beyssac, O.; Huizenga, J.-M.; Rodas, M.; Clarke, S.M. (2010). "The graphite deposit at Borrowdale (UK): A catastrophic mineralizing event associated with Ordovician magmatism". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74 (8): 2429–2449. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2010.01.020.
- Barrenechea, J. F.; Luque, F. J.; Millward, D.; Ortega, L.; Beyssac, O.; Rodas, M. (2009). "Graphite morphologies from the Borrowdale deposit (NW England, UK): Raman and SIMS data". Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 158: 37–51. doi:10.1007/s00410-008-0369-y.
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