Shap Fells on a relief mapShap

Most people in Britain have heard of Shap, usually in the context of Shap summit on either the A6, M6 or the West Coast main railway line. Shap Fells form the connection between the Pennine hills to the east running north south down the spine of England and the high Cumbrian Fells to the West otherwise known as the Lake District. Two River valleys separate these fells the lune in the south and the Eden in the north however Shap fells separate the two valleys. It is this barrier of Shap Fells that any north south route through these part need to cross. Breaking news for Cumbria including the Shap area can be found on our Cumbria News Page. A photo Gallery for Shap where photos can be viewed and uploaded can be found on our Galleries Page

 

 

Shap Main StreetShap Village

However it is Shap village we are concerned about on this page nestling just to the north of the Fells it takes its name from. Shap Village marks a change in Landscape from the rugged fells to the south to the gentler slops approaching Penrith. Shap village is by far the largest village on the A6 between Kendal and Carlisle. Its importance is testified by the fact that it is signposted on the A6 from both Kendal and Penrith. The village boast a school, church and a number of local shops. The village is responsible for most of the traffic on the A6 between Shap and Penrith, although it is possible to use the M6 via junctions 39 and 40 this involves a detour of nearly 2 miles. Although Shap has more traffic down its main street than all the other villages in the neighbourhood it is still quite easy to pass through on the A6 as most of the through traffic now uses the M6 motorway.

 

Old houses at the northern edge of ShapHistorical Shap

During the 12th Century Monks looking for a lonley place to settle chose a remote spot on the Lowther River about a mile to the west of current Shap village. By the 17th Century Shap village had grown to about 150 houses large enough to establish a market which survived until the 20th century. The village in its remote location has continued to prosper, today it has a population of about 1200.

 

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The A6 & M6 in Shap

The A6 enters Shap from the north under the M6 where the shap north junction was then makes its way south down to the village, running north - south through the village, leaving the village it meets the junction of the B6261 which leads up to junction 39 of the M6. Up until recently the A6 changed at this junction from a non primary route to a primary route as it becomes the main route from the M6 north to Kendal, however it has recently been downgraded to a non primary route. Beyond the junction the A6 passes a number of Quarries and Shap Wells Hotel before climbing up to Shap summit, the highest point on the A6. The M6 passes the village to the east climbing to junction 39 reaching its summit just south of the junction.