Picture perfect Lake District awarded world heritage status
The Lake District national park has been listed as a world heritage site, joining the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon. With its rolling hills, spectacular mountains and stunning lakes, it is the UK’s first national park to be granted the status.
The decision was announced by Unesco on Twitter with the simple post: “Just inscribed as Unesco WorldHeritage Site: The English Lake District.”
The national park was one of 33 sites around the world to be discussed by the Unesco committee in Kraków, Poland. The committee praised the area’s beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers.
The UK now has 31 world heritage sites including the city of Bath, the Tower of London, Canterbury Cathedral and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
The committee suggested the impact of tourism be monitored and requested improvements in conservation efforts. Delegates heard that the 2,292 sq km national park had been trying to obtain the Unesco status since 1986.
Lord Clark of Windermere, who chaired the Lake District’s bid, said the decision recognised the region’s contribution to culture, art and literature, as well as its landscape.
The bid was formally entered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Historic England and was the UK’s only submission in 2016. John Glen, minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said: “The Lake District is one of the UK’s most stunning and ancient landscapes. It is a unique part of the world that combines a vibrant farming community with thousands of archaeological sites and structures that give us an amazing glimpse into our past.”
About 18 million people visit the Lake District each year, spending a total of £1.2bn ($1.55bn) and providing about 18,000 jobs. It is home to England’s largest natural lake – Windermere – and highest mountain, Scafell Pike. The Lakes also boasts sites of historical importance such as King Arthur’s Round Table, said by English Heritage to be a neolithic earthwork henge believed to be the legendary monarch’s jousting arena.
It has inspired some of the country’s most beloved writers including Beatrix Potter, who owned Hill Top farm, and the poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and John Ruskin.