The Pennines (/ˈpɛnaɪnz/), also known as the Pennine Chain or Pennine Hills, are a range of mountains and hills in England separating North West England from Yorkshire and North East England. Often described as the "backbone of England", the Pennine Hills form a more-or-less continuous range stretching northwards from the Peak District in the northern Midlands, through the South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines up to the Tyne Gap, which separates the range from the Cheviot Hills. Some definitions of the Pennines also include the Cheviot Hills across the Anglo-Scottish border while excluding the southern Peak District. South of the Aire Gap is a western spur into east Lancashire, comprising the Rossendale Fells, West Pennine Moors and the Bowland Fells in North Lancashire. The Howgill Fells and Orton Fells in Cumbria are sometimes considered to be Pennine spurs to the west of the range. The Pennines are an important water catchment area with numerous reservoirs in the head streams of the river valleys. The region is widely considered to be one of the most scenic areas of the United Kingdom. The North Pennines and Nidderdale are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) within the range, as are Bowland and Pendle Hill. Parts of the Pennines are incorporated into the Peak District National Park and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Britain's oldest long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way, runs along most of the Pennine Chain and is 268 miles (429 km) long.
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