The Lake District: A World Heritage Site

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Summer 2017 has been a very special time for the Lake District, its people and those who love to visit it.

UNESCO’s decision to award the Lake District World Heritage status, sees the area join the likes of Nevada’s Grand Canyon, Florence in Italy and the city of Vienna in Austria on the list of the planet’s most treasured places.

To local folk and to the many who have visited the Lake District, the acclaim came as little surprise – one only has to spend a short time walking in the fells, sailing on the waters or spending time in one of the towns or villages of the area to realise just how wonderful it is.

UNESCO created a brand new category by which World Heritage status is assessed in order to pick the Lake District as a winner. The 33 sites nominated from around the world included Kulangsu, a tiny international island located on the estuary of the Chiu-lung River in China and the archaeological site of Aphrodisias in Turkey.

Judged on both its natural and its cultural merits, however, the Lake District came out on top.

The awe inspiring hikes over and around fells such as Helvellyn, some tranquil reflection on the shores of Ullswater or a taste of gastronomic excellence are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring everything the Lake District has to offer, but played a huge part in helping win the award.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Clark of Windermere, chairman of the Lake District National Park Partnership, the body who were responsible for the bid, said that the outcome was “momentous”.

Lord Clark added; “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”.

With around 18 million people visiting the region each year, the Lake District already pulls it’s fair share of tourists and what many are hoping is that it’s new status will mean more value and not more volume in the future.

This was echoed by the committee who congregated in Krakow, Poland, to discuss the 33 sites. They recommended that the impact on the area from tourism should be monitored and requested that there be improvements in its conservation.

Author and Herdwick Shepherd James Rebanks commented; “It’s not about attracting more tourists,” and continued, “it’s about attracting visitors who will spend more money and stay longer to appreciate the landscape and its culture.”

The overriding sentiment among the people of the Lake District is that World Heritage status can do nothing but good and have embraced the award with open arms.

Lakelovers are extremely proud of this fantastic achievement and hope that the new status of the Lake District is reflected in everything we do, but particularly in the accommodation we offer through our Lakelovers Gold service.

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