The Lake District has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Sydney Opera House and The Great Wall of China.
The Lake District National Park was one of 33 sites around the world which were more recently discussed by the UNESCO committee in Krakow, Poland. The committee praised the area’s beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists, writers and others.
It is the 31st place in the UK and overseas territories to be put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The 885 square mile (2,292 square km) Lake District had been trying to obtain the UNESCO status since 1986. Lord Clark of Windermere, who is Chairman of the Lake District National Park Partnership, who put together the bid, described the decision as “momentous”.
“A great many people have come together to make this happen and we believe the decision will have long and lasting benefits for the spectacular Lake District landscape, the visitors we welcome every year and for the people who call the National Park their home,” he added.
Steve Ratcliffe, who is the Director of Sustainable Development at the Lake District National Park, said the application had been a “long time in the making” and he was “incredibly proud” of the landscape which has been shaped by nature, farming and industry.
He told the committee: “The Lake District now becomes an international and global property and we look forward to working with you and our communities to make sure this site inspires future generations around the world.”
Visitors to the Lake District
Around 18 million people visit the Lake District each year, spending a total of £1.2bn and providing about 18,000 jobs to the area. It is home to England’s largest natural lake – Lake Windermere – and highest mountain – Scafell Pike.
Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said he was hopeful the UNESCO status would put the Lakes on an international level. “What we really hope is it will act as an economic driver and will grow the value, not the volume, of tourism by giving people more reasons to make day visits and sustained visits.”
Harriet Fraser, a writer and patron of Friends of the Lake District, said: “It’s the most beautiful district but it has a very deep culture which is largely hill farming but also conservation.”
Other UK UNESCO sites include Stonehenge, Durham Castle and Cathedral, the City of Bath, Westminster Abbey, Conwy Castle.
Walking in the Lake District
“If you’ve never visited the Lake District, you really should go…its a wonderful place!” says Ian Knights of Buy Hiking Boots. Before your visit make sure you’ve invested in a good pair of walking boots. Visit our shop to find the right pair of boots for your trip – buying online from a reputable retailer.
Walking in the Lake District offers something for everyone, of all ages and abilities. There are a fantastic range of routes in and around the Western Lake District, including Newlands Valley, Catbells, Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge and Castlerigg Stone Circle. Some of these walks have been featured in Alfred Wainwrights books.
Why not make the most out of your visit to the Lake District, staying overnight, a few days, a week or even longer! There are lots of hotels, B&B’s and holiday cottages to suit every budget, all in close proximity to great walks, villages and areas of outstanding natural beauty that the Lake District has to offer.
Ian Knights | buy Hiking Boots