Quiz: Do You Know the Geographic Features of the UK?: HowStuffWorks
Do You Know the Geographic Features of the UK?
By: Zoe Samuel
6 Min Quiz
Image: Wikicommons by Sumit Surai
About This Quiz
The geography of the UK defined much of its history, determining economic hubs, the locations of ports, where manufacturing took place, ancient borders and even when invaders were or were not successful. Its natural beauty extends from the warmer south to the stark beauty of its northernmost islands. The UK contains natural resources from mineral deposits to hydropower to oil fields. Its geography is the reason it was so simple for early paleontologists to find dinosaur fossils. It is how ancient burials were preserved. Britain's geography is the reason its ancient people were able to mine, shape and transport the huge stone slabs that are Stonehenge.
The UK's stately homes are well known, but the natural beauty of the land is often overlooked in favor of the achievements of Britons in shaping the landscape with roads, rails and tunnels. Even ancient people made their marks on the look of the countryside, carving The White Horse of Uffington into the very earth. and the unforgettable if rather rude image of the Cerne Abbas Giant, similarly tattooed into the countryside.
Do you take the land around you for granted or are you as fascinated with its natural wonders as we are? It's time to test your knowledge of British geography!
Wikicommons by Immanuel Giel
Stark beauty, defined. What name would you give this?
Situated near Dover Castle, The White Cliffs of Dover are one of the most iconic images of Britain, appearing in paintings, photographs and films. They performed an important role in WW2, being topped with radar banks keeping a lookout for German aircraft.
Wikicommons by Diliff
Can you name this river, which has been an important trade artery since time immemorial?
With 45 navigational locks, the Thames remains important to maritime transport. Guarded by the Thames Barrier, a huge, mechanical wall, the Thames is protected from the storm surge of any potential storm in the North Sea that would otherwise flood London.
Wikicommons by Hartmut Josi Bennöhr (User:Josi~commonswiki / de:User:Josi-sh)
What a remarkable formation! Do you know what this place is called?
Looking like something out of a David Lynch film, Fingal's Cave sits on an uninhabited island in Scotland. Noted for its acoustics, it owes its unique appearance and shape to its composition: basalt rock.
Wikicommons by Simon Frost
This looks like a good place to hide something. What do you see?
Discovered by lead miners two hundred years ago, Stump Cross Caverns are a natural cave system, not a mine. Over the years, cave explorers have found the remains of ancient animals, and even reindeer! Located in Yorkshire, it's not even very far away.
Wikicommons by User:Diliff
This place is just magical. What is its name?
Located in northwest England, The Lake District is a picturesque region of small mountains, deep lakes and spectacular views. Geologically similar to Scotland but populated with different flora, this area is a popular place for holidays for good reason.
Wikicommons by Bob Embleton / Three Peaks
What do you think the name of this is?
The Three Peaks are three mountains that form the basis of The Three Peaks Challenge. These mountains are Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon, the tallest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively.
What's the name of this body of water, known for a mythical and magical being?
Loch Ness is one of many gorgeous lochs in Scotland, but it is one of the best known lakes in the world because of its most famous resident, the Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie. Have you spotted her?
Wikicommons by Fir0002 at English Wikipedia
This vista is truly awe-inspiring. At what are we looking?
One of the two longest trails in the UK, the creation of The Pennine Way was inspired by the Appalachian Trail in America. The Pennine Way is a difficult trail, but it both passes through some beautiful countryside and is full of friendly ramblers.
Wikicommons by Brian Robert Marshall / Water Dean Bottom, Salisbury Plain
Beautiful! This place conceals ancient secrets. What is its name?
Salisbury Plain is anything but plain. It is bisected by a road that partially runs below the surface of the plain in order to keep the views pristine. The reason for this need is Salisbury Plain contains Stonehenge, the iconic Stone Age site.
Wikicommons by Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Land's End (Cornwall, UK), Coast Path -- 2013 -- 1061”
This watery place is so picturesque. What is its name?
Land's End is the bleak, granite coastal fringe of Cornwall, before reaching into the Atlantic Ocean. It is the most westerly point in England.
Wikicommons by Prosthetic Head
This formation has something to show. What is its name?
Cheddar Gorge, so named because it is near the town of Cheddar, is the home of the original cheddar cheese. At the bottom of the deepest parts of the gorge is a small cave system, in which cheddar cheese is aged, and visitors can be given guided tours.
Wikicommons by MartinCornwallUK
Dark and forbidding, this place has a great name. What is it?
Bodmin Moor is a vast expanse in Cornwall, noted for its granite underpinnings and the highest point in Cornwall, the oddly named Brown Willie. Home to many old legends, the one concerning the Beast of Bodmin has, oddly, only been around since the 1970s.
Wikicommons by Clem_nat
What natural curiosity is this?
The Old Man of Storr is a rock formation on The Isle of Skye, in the furthest reaches of Scotland. Part of a much larger area of great natural beauty called The Sanctuary, it abuts The Storr, a mountain with a side of rock exposed due to landslip. The Old Man, however, stands alone.
Wikicommons by Roger Gittins / The Wash
A priceless view. Do you know what it is?
When Lincolnshire and Norfolk meet and four rivers collide, it all comes out in The Wash. A huge estuary, The Wash spills into the North Sea.
Wikicommons by Saffron Blaze
What is the peculiar name of this place?
Were it not for Mary Anning and The Jurassic Coast, paleontology would not be what it is today. So called because of the tremendous exposed rock and fossils, The Jurassic Coast frequently gives up its secrets as it erodes, exposing the bones of prehistoric creatures, and giving up the secrets of how the land used to be.
Wikicommons by Dave.Dunford
Doesn't this look like an oil painting? What name would you give it?
Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales, standing a full 2,907 feet at its highest elevation. Used for military training by the government, soldiers have died while attempting its conquest in their survival and navigation exercises.
Wikicommons by Aeleftherios at French Wikipedia
Magnificent! Which of these is the name of this place?
The highest mountain in all of the British Isles, Ben Nevis was once a towering volcano, though those days are long in the past. The name is derived from the Gaelic for mountain, and a word of which no one can remember the meaning.
Wikicommons by tormentor4555
Look at the power of this! What is it called?
The Firth of Forth is the fjord into which the Forth River empties. This is the body famously crossed by The Forth Bridge, a structure so huge that the time it takes a crew to paint it is equal to the time it takes for the oldest parts of the paint to need repainting.
Wikicommons by Nilfanion
The sheer size of this boggles the mind! Where are we?
Cornwall's High Cliff is one of the best-named places in the whole world! Rather than attempting poetry, whoever named it was quite literal: The cliff is the highest drop in Cornwall with a height of 732 feet!
Wikicommons by Rosser1954
Some geography is intertwined with history. What is the name of this historical feature?
The River Usk flows from the Black Mountain in Wales, east, and then south to the sea. As it goes, it passes the town of Caerleon, the site of a Roman ruin which seems to have inspired many of the details of the myths in the Arthurian Legend.
Wikicommons by Ruth Sharville / Fair Isle from the north
Which strange name would match the strange place before you?
Shetland is a one-of-a-kind place. Surrounded by other islands, its history includes mining and subsistence farming on the unforgiving hillsides. Today, its money comes from the vast oil below it.
Wikicommons by Peer Lawther from Leeds, United Kingdom
Ancient glaciers carved this landscape. What is its name?
Grisedale Tarn earns its last name from how it was formed. Tarns are lakes created by the act of a glacier carving out a depression in the land, which later forms a lake.
Wikicommons by Ruth Sharville / Severn Bore near Over Bridge, Gloucester
This place has witnessed the passage of time like no other. What is it?
The Severn River is the longest river in the UK, and when it empties into the ocean, something very strange happens. It develops the Severn Bore, a strange phenomenon when the tidal forces of the ocean collide with the river, creating a wave of water that travels upstream!
RichWalking via YouTube
It would be a shame if places like this were to fade away. What is this one called?
The Heart of England Forest charity was funded by publisher Felix Dennis, hence the affectionate nickname. A new forest in the truest sense of the word, it is comprised entirely of native British species, ensuring that the landscape remains unique in the world.
Wikicommons by Darren Copley from Sheffield
The height of this thing is just astonishing! Can you remember its name?
Cautley Spout is the highest above-ground cascade waterfall in England. That reads as a lot of caveats, but it is important to be specific. After all, in England there are other waterfalls that have greater unbroken falls, and there are longer ones.
Wikicommons by Alan Butterworth / Glyder Fawr from Glyder Fach
A site that looks as though it were created for a role in a film! What's it called?
With a peak elevation at 3,284, the craggy Glyder Fawr is the highest mountain peak in the Glyderau Mountains. Created in part by the dissolution of glaciers which deposited rocks all around the area, the mountain's name is derived from the Welsh for "heap of rocks".
Wikicommons by Mick Knapton at the English language Wikipedia
This foreboding place looks like something from a dream! What do you think it is named?
The tallest waterfall in Wales, The Devil's Appendix isn't a very powerful waterfall. As a result, it does not flow all year, turning what was a waterfall into a surface for climbers for part of the year.
Wikicommons by Immanuel Giel
This dead volcano must have been impressive in its heyday. What is it called?
Arthur's Seat has not erupted in an eternity, instead providing Edinburgh with its unique landscape. Topping out at an elevation of 823 feet, it is unclear why it is called "Arthur's Seat," but one theory points to the Arthurian legend.
Wikicommons by Chris Stafford / The Redundant Church
You would likely come across many a church in this area. What do you see?
The Fens, also called The Fenlands, is the lowest place in the UK, similar in many ways to parts of Holland. This area has been home to a plethora of churches and monasteries since the Dark Ages.
Wikicommons by Jim Champion / Wookey Hole caves
What is the name of this fascinating landmark?
The Wookey Hole Caves aren't just for spelunkers, but for families, as it has turned into a genuine tourist attraction, complete with a crazy golf course and special events for children at Christmas. It is worth noting that the double o in Wookey Hole is pronounced like the double o in snooker, not as in Wookiee.
Wikicommons by Photochrom Print Collection
Gandalf would not look out of place here. Where are we?
The Pass of Killiecrankie is an important mountain pass in Scotland. It is also near the location of the Battle of Killiecrankie, fought by the Jacobites.
Wikicommons by Gottik666 at English Wikipedia
Some places in Britain look truly idyllic, and this is one such place. Can you remember its name?
The South Downs include the biggest national park in the UK, which is actually larger than the chalk hills which characterize the South Downs. With a landscape shaped by grazing animals, it's no surprise that the South Downs have their own breed of sheep: Southdown sheep.
Wikicommons by terry joyce / Northey Island
This humble place has some fascinating history. What is it?
Northey Island is a windswept island in Essex connected to the mainland by a sandbar which disappears at high tide. It was the site of a massive Viking invasion in 991 AD that presaged the conquest of England by Swain Forkbeard of Denmark.
Wikicommons by Wilson44691
What is the name of this chilly place?
Dunnet Head is the most northerly place in the mainland UK, sitting just to the north of the nearby town of John o' Groats. There are more northerly places in the UK, but they are all outlying islands.
Wikicommons by Terryjoyce
A placid place, no? What do you think it's called?
The Blackwater Estuary faces east from Maldon, and not only fosters important local birds and fish, but it's also an important historical site, the Anglo-Saxon structures and fishing gear frequently emerging from land and sea. This is where Maldon salt comes from!
Wikicommons by Arild Vågen
What a view! Do you know the name of this place?
Beachy Head is part of the many chalky cliffs along the southeast coast of England. Resembling the wall of a fortress, much of what keeps Britain safe from invasion resides in the geology of its surroundings.
Wikicommons by Stuart Meek
What could be more magical than this place? What could it be named?
Drumochter Pass is where the southern and northern highlands meet, where the water looks like it doesn't know where to go because it can flow in either direction. Were this pass to snow in, the highlands would become far less accessible.
Malham Cove was once a waterfall, many thousands of years ago. The waterfall drained a prehistoric glacier, now long gone. Atop Malham Cove is what is called its limestone pavement, a location perhaps most recognized from its appearance in a "Harry Potter" film.
Wikicommons by Chris Sampson
The air here smells fresh and the sounds are peaceful. Which name matches this place?
Like many "new" things in the UK, The New Forest is not new, being named a royal forest by William the Conqueror. It remains one of the only unenclosed forests in England.
Wikicommons by DimiTalen
This place holds an important place in history. What is it called?
The Weald, meaning "The Woodland" in Old English, holds an important place in British history. Specifically, it is the place where Henry VIII's regime began production of iron cannon, which, being far cheaper than bronze cannon, could be mounted shipboard, forming the teeth of the British Navy.
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