Terrain shapes and bedrock
The UK consists partly of highlands in the north and west
and partly of lowland areas, especially in the south-east.
The highlands are built up of old and hard rocks, while
the lowland part of the UK rests on softer rocks, which were
formed during the Triassic to Tertiary (about 245-30 million
years old). The main alternating relief of the main island
and the course of the coastline are closely related to the
composition and structure of the bedrock. Some of the
highlands are part of the Caledonian Mountain Range
(see Caledonian Orogenesis), namely Scotland, Northern
Ireland, Northwest England and Northern Wales, while others
are part of the Varian system (360–250 million years ago;
see Varian orogenesis). The archipelago in the north shows
similarity to Scotland as well as Northern Ireland, where a
basalt plateau with Britain's largest lake, Lough Neagh,
available. The ground cover varies locally with moraine clay
on some plains and pod sun in the highlands.
For Northern Ireland's terrain forms and climate, see
Ireland (Terrain forms and bedrock and Climate).
COUNTRYAAH, the Northwest Scottish Highlands at the far north and the
Grampian Mountains south of the Great Glen fault basin with
Lake Loch Ness are mainly built up by gneisses and mica
slates older than 570 million years, with elements of old
granite intrusive and belts of old red sandstone from Devon
(about 400 million years old). Ben Nevis in the Grampian
Mountains is a granite dome with Britain's highest point,
1,345 m above sea level. Southern Scottish Highlands which
is a 700-800m high plateau, the Cumbrian Mountains south of
the Solway Firth, forming the scenic Lake District with the
top Scafell Pike 977m above sea level, and Northern Wales
with Snowdon, 1,085m above sea level. are all built up of
sedimentary rocks. The latest inland ice has sculpted the
land surface and left shapes like round pours,niches,
elongated lakes and fjords.
The Pennine Mountains in Northern England with Cross
Fell, 893 meters above sea level, are a north-south
elevation of hard limestone and sandstone with collages on
both sides, which are varically affected. So is Southern
Wales with limestone, slate and collages, and Cornwall with
hills of granite.
Lowlands in the UK made up except the Scottish
lowlands of the plains around the Pennine mountains and the
North Sea bay The Wash and the Thames outlet. Like the
London basin, they are built up of clay, sand and limestone.
The latter often form cuesta ridges (see cuesta), e.g. North
and South Downs.
The rivers in the UK are short, e.g. Tyne, Tees, Trent,
the Great Ouse River (see Ouse) and the Thames flowing east.
The rivers Clyde, Eden, Mersey and Severn flow west.
The UK has a warm temperate humid climate with mild
winters and cool summers. Due to its northern location in
the Western Wind Belt, the UK is exposed to the lively
low-pressure activity on the North Atlantic polar front,
which causes stormy and unstable weather with high
cloudiness. The weather can be rapidly changing and no major
differences occur in the different parts of the country.
Compared to the eastern parts, however, the western parts
are usually slightly cloudy, milder and rainier during the
winter and cooler during the summer.
The average temperature in winter is 3–5 °C, in summer
12–16 °C in Scotland and 17 °C in England. Precipitation
falls all seasons and amounts to about 2,500 mm per year in
the highlands, locally more than twice as much, while the
lowlands receive 600–800 mm. Snow can fall in wintertime,
but any snow cover is usually only a few days except in the
highlands (over about 500 m above sea level). Tropical air
from the Azorean high pressure often produces dense fog.
Plant-and animal life
The nature of the UK is characterized by the Atlantic
with mild winters and a lot of rain all year round. Scotland
in the north is dominated by steep, rocky coasts, majestic
mountains and many rivers and lakes (lochs). England in the
south exhibits a friendlier landscape with deciduous
forests, cultivated plains, often framed by hedges, and a
mainly low-lying coast where sometimes the limestone
mountain passes during the day, forming steep sections such
as the famous "white cliffs of Dover". At the far west and
southwest, Celtic Wales and Cornwall exhibit a dramatic face
where the mountain falls in many places directly into the
Atlantic, but also longer sections with sandy beaches and
dunes, such as the "Cornwall Riviera" and Pembrokeshire in
Wales with popular beaches.
In eastern England lies Norfolk Broads with the UK's
largest protected wetland area. Seven smaller rivers
coalesce here, forming small lakes, larger reeds, mosses and
marshes where Britain's only cranes nest side by side with
gray goose, beard dipping, pipe drum and other waterfowl.
Norfolk Broads was the last outpost for the marsh gold wing
(Lycaena dispar). Due to extensive digressions,
this beautiful day butterfly disappeared as early as the
1860s, but after recreating some of the original
environment, you are now considering re-implanting the
species in Norfolk Broads with butterflies derived from the
New Forest in southern England is a unique natural area
throughout Europe. As early as 1079, New Forest was set
aside as royal hunting grounds by William the Conqueror and
the landscape has since been characterized by free-ranging
deer, deer, deer, ponies (new forest), cattle and pigs,
creating a mosaic of open meadows and trees with ancient
trees. Many believe that large parts of Britain and the
continent looked like this even before humans began to
breed, when species such as uroxia, wild horse, deer, willow
and wild boar were given space to shape wild Europe. Thanks
to its long continuity, New Forest is one of the richest
places in the UK, where several plants and animals have
their only habitat (including dark red sable lily,Gladiolus
illyricus) or its strongest mounts (including 13 bat
In Dartmoor in south-west England there is a national
park with a rich mosaic of moorlands, oak forests, pastures,
mosses and granite cliffs. In the heathlands, red hen (Alectoris
rufa) and ring-trust thrive. In the spring, the oak
forests are sounded by the song of black and white
flycatchers, finches and various blades, and tree sleepers
utilize the day's dark hours for hunting. The pastures are
rich in day butterflies and the black-spotted blueberry had
its last known occurrence in the United Kingdom. After the
last discovery in 1979, suitable biotopes were re-created
and butterfly larvae from Öland were introduced with good
results. The mosses have marsh snapits southernmost nesting
site in the world and klipputsprången provides appropriate
bohyllor the raven and peregrine falcon.
Off the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales are two of the
UK's most valuable bird islands - Skomer Island and
Skokholm. They are famous especially for their large
colonies of smaller lira; more than half of all the world's
breeding pairs here produce their young. Other waterfowl is
sea sole, lunnefågel, shag, storm cool (Hydro'bates
pela'gicus) and kittiwakes. Pilgrim falcon and alp crow
find suitable places in the cliff top. In the sea outside
there are gray seals, porpoises, bridges and killer whales.
Every now and then, blue whales are seen.
In the north-west of England there is Britain's largest
tidal area, Merocombe Bay. During the winter season, there
are more than a quarter of a million birds here, most
notably beachcat, marsh snap, coast snap and big spaw.
Otter, salmon and sea trout utilize the nutrient-rich
tidal zone but also flowing rivers.
A little further north lies England's largest national
park, the Lake District. With its many lakes and streams,
the national park is an attractive tourist destination for
millions of tourists. Osprey has become one of the national
park's most important symbols and attractions. From
re-implants in Scotland, the osprey colonized the Lake
District in 2001 after 150 years away and has since
increased in number. Through special cameras and vantage
points, more than 100,000 spectators can view the oyster's
nesting board annually without interruption.
Cairngorms in central Scotland with high mountains,
moorlands, clear lakes, rivers and wetlands are the UK's
largest national park. Here live wildcats and a long line of
birds of prey - king eagle, blue swamp, osprey, pilgrim
falcon and rock falcon. Moripa, a subspecies of dalripa,
lives on the moorlands and is a favorite prey for the many
birds of prey. Squirrel has one of its last bastions in the
country after being forced back by the larger gray
squirrelafter implants from North America in the early
1900s. There is a large and individual strain of red deer.
The species is an attractive hunting game and artificially
high densities are maintained to create good hunting income.
This hampers the return of the famous Caledonian forests
with, among other things, pine, aspen, spring birch and
glass birch, where less than 1% of the original distribution
remains. Re-implantation of the wolf has been proposed to
reduce the problems surrounding deer, but the hunting and
financial interests are so far too strong for consent.
On the Taynish Peninsula in western Scotland, one of the
best examples of Atlantic oak forests is growing in Europe.
With a rich undergrowth of various ferns, mosses and
lichens, they also go by the name Celtic rainforests.
In the far west and north of Scotland, the Hebrides,
Orkney and Shetland spread with an extensive archipelago of
islands. On the wine-lined islands there is an interesting
bird fauna with barley grain, smallmouth, rock pigeon and
sea eagle. With the start and release of Norwegian birds
in 1975 on the island of Rum in the Inner Hebrides, the sea
eagle has slowly begun to recolonize Scotland, where it was
once widely used. The population in western Scotland is now
estimated to be more than 200 individuals and attracts a
growing tourism - on the island of Mull in the Inner
Hebrides the sea eagle tourism generates an annual income of
the equivalent of over SEK 20 million. The coasts and the
more solitary islands attract millions of nesting seabirds
each year and surrounding water gray seals, seal seals, sea
otters, porpoises, killer whales, dolphins and folding
In 2012, there were fifteen national park status areas,
the largest of which are Cairngorms (Scotland), the Lake
District (north-west England) and Snowdonia (Wales). There
are, moreover, a very large number of nature-protected
areas, most bird-protection areas and areas that are
protected because of the landscape.