Geography of Great Britain

Geography of Great Britain

Located between 49°57′ and 60°49′ north latitude; 1°46′ East and 8°00′ West.

Great Britain is an island state; consists of the island of Great Britain and the northeastern part of the island of Ireland (they are separated by a narrow North Strait), as well as smaller islands (the most significant of them are Anglesey, White, Orkney, Hebrides, Shetland). Great Britain includes the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea and the Channel Islands, located in the English Channel off the coast of France, enjoying internal autonomy. The British Isles (as Great Britain and Ireland are usually called) are washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. They are separated from mainland Europe only by the narrow straits of the Pas de Calais (in the UK – the Strait of Dover) and the English Channel (English Channel). The UK and France are connected by a tunnel 48 km long, of which 37 km runs under the English Channel. The coastline – 12,429 km – is heavily indented, replete with bays and gulfs – convenient parking for ships. The largest bays are Bristol, Cardigan, Solway Firth, Firth of Clyde, Moray Firth, Firth of Forth, Wash. Great Britain shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland; its length is 360 km.

Most of the UK is characterized by rugged terrain. Mountainous terrain prevails in the north and west. In the northern part of the island, mountains rise from 840 to 1300 m above sea level (the highest peak is Ben Nevis – 1340 m). The North Scottish Highlands are separated from the South Scottish Highlands by the Mid-Scottish Lowland less than 100 km wide. Mountain ranges cover almost the entire western part of the island, especially Wales and Cornwall. The middle part of northern England is occupied by the Pennines, which separate the Lancashire lowlands in the west from the Yorkshire lowlands in the east. The southern half of Great Britain consists of plains separated by hills and uplands.

The UK has significant mineral reserves. Among them are oil, natural gas, coal, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, copper, silica. Offshore oil reserves are estimated at 1,430 million tons; most of them are located in the North Sea, east and northeast of Scotland and east of Shetland and Orkney; the largest offshore fields are Fortis and Brent, on the mainland – Witchfarm in Dorset. Natural gas reserves reach 1710 billion m3, the main deposits are located in the North Sea off the east coast of England. The main coal deposits (substantially depleted) are Yorkshire – Derby – Nottinghamshire Basin in East Middland, Northumberland – Durham Basin in the northeast of England.

The soil cover of Great Britain is quite diverse. Brown forest, podzolic soils predominate. Carbonate, alluvial, acidic soils, peatlands are widespread.

According to BRIDGAT, the climate of Great Britain is temperate, humid, oceanic. Thanks to the North Atlantic Current and warm winds blowing from the Atlantic Ocean, the UK generally has mild winters. But these same winds explain cloudy weather, frequent rains and fogs. The average temperature in January is 3-7°C, in July 11-17°C, the amount of annual precipitation is 550-800 mm in the southeast, 3000 mm in the mountainous western and northern regions. Most precipitation falls from October to January, less – in February – March.

The UK has a large number of rivers and lakes. The longest river – the Severn (328 km) – originates in the mountains of Wales and flows into the Bristol Bay (west coast). The Lancashire lowlands are crossed by the Mersey, which flows into Liverpool Bay. The main river of the east coast – the Thames (336 km) – flows through the most densely populated areas of southeast England. The Mid-Scottish Lowlands are also rich in rivers. The longest of them is the Clyde (157 km), originating in the South Scottish Highlands and flowing into the Firth of Clyde (west coast), and the Forth, flowing into the Firth of Forth (east coast). There are many lakes in the north of the country. The largest is Loch Nih in Northern Ireland – 396 km2. The deepest is Loch Morir in the North Scottish Highlands (310 m).

The flora of Great Britain is diverse, 9% of the territory is covered with forests. Broad-leaved forests predominate – oak, beech, birch. There are many coniferous forests in Scotland – spruce, larch. Heathlands are widespread. In the south of the country there are evergreen Mediterranean plant species. Plants vegetate all year round.

In the UK there are approx. 30 thousand species of animals. Among them are foxes, hares, red squirrels, otters, black rats, mink, reptiles and amphibians. Of the 200 bird species, the most common are sparrows, finches, starlings, crows, kingfishers, robins, and tits. In rivers, lakes and coastal sea waters there are numerous species of fish – cod, haddock, whiting, herring, salmon, trout.

Geography of Great Britain

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