Pic­ture per­fect Lake District awarded world her­itage sta­tus

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk news - Nazia Parveen Photo: PA

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.

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