Cumbria is a non-metropolitan county in North West England, United Kingdom. Cumbria came into existence as a county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. The county consists of six districts, and in 2008 had a total population of just under half a million.
Cumbria, the third largest ceremonial county in England by area, is bounded to the north by the Scottish council area of Dumfries and Galloway, to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the southeast by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland.
A predominantly rural county, Cumbria contains the Lake District and associated Lake District National Park, considered one of the most beautiful areas of England. The area has provided inspiration for generations of British and foreign artists, writers and musicians. Much of the county is mountainous, and it contains every peak in England over 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level, with Scafell Pike at 978 metres (3,209 ft) being the highest point in England. Long existing as an upland, coastal and rural area, Cumbria's heritage is characterised by a broad number of invasions, migration and settlement, as well as battles and skirmishes between the English and Scottish. Some of the more notable historic sites in Cumbria include Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey, Hadrian's Wall and Rheged.