The Orton Fells is an area up of upland limestone farmland with limestone outcrops, scars and pavements, open moorland, commons, and a fringe of rolling farmland. Much limestone quarrying has taken place over the years. Boulder clay, sandstone, and shale are found in certain areas. Many sections are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The M6 bisects the area.
The rolling hills consist of improved pasture with limestone walls or fences with some hedgerows. Farming in the area is mainly sheep although there is some other livestock. In the valleys grass is grown for hay and silage. Streams and village greens enhance the beauty.
Tree cover is sparse except for small copses with a mix of broadleafs and coniferous trees. Ash trees are the most common. Heather is found on the moorland. Archaeological remains are found in the area and include stone circles and burial mounds, a Roman road, and ancient villages.
Most settlements are located in the lower land in the central upland region. Crosby Ravensworth, Crosby Garrett, Ravenstonedale, Soulby, Asby, Maulds Meaburn, Kings Meaburn, Morland, Cliburn, and Orton are all part of this landscape. Many have conservation area status.
The Orton Fells are located off the M6, south-east of Penrith and north-west of Kirkby Stephen.
For full details of a proposal to extend the Lake District National Park to encompass this area visit Natural England Lakes to Dales Landscape Designation Project at www.lakestodaleslandscapes.org.uk
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