The English Lake District - A World Heritage Area In the Making?

Aug 29 19:53 2008 RodBooth Print This Article

A brief review of the Lake Dsitrict's bid for World Heritage Status.

The Lake District in Cumbria is England's largest National Park,Guest Posting one of 14 in the United Kingdom. At approximately 34 miles wide and covering some 885 square miles, it is also home to England's highest mountain - Scafell Pike - England's deepest lake - Wastwater - and England's longest Lake - Windemere.

Some well-known towns include Keswick, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere by the lakes, and of course Kendal, which is on the South East boundary of the designated National Park area. Kendal is also the town where the Lake District World Heritage Project, chaired by Cumbria County Council, is based.

The fact that the Lake District might become a World Heritage Site is almost a natural progression from the late 18th Century when Celia Fiennes first wrote about it in her travel book, published in 1778. For literally centuries, therefore, the Lakes have had a huge impact on the people of England - and, of course, the rest of the world.

Later in the 18th century, Thomas West produced his "Guide to the Lakes", with its listings of 'stations' (viewpoints). This was the beginning of a form of tourism in the Lakes one can see as almost modern in its ambition.

But it took the efforts of renowned artists, poets, writers, and even thinkers like John Ruskin, who drew inspiration from the area, to really introduce the Lake District to the world. The impact of their work encouraged others to think about the way in which landscape, the environment and even nature itself could be viewed.

Another book which developed the popularity of the Lake District was William Wordsworth's first guidebook in 1810: his "Guide to the Lakes". Wordsworth made no secret of the fact that his favourite place was the Duddon Valley in the south-west of the Lake District.

The massive impact of the Lake District on the culture of Britain might result in the granting of World Heritage Site status. World Heritage Sites are considered to have "outstanding universal value" - that is, almost to be be unique - and there can be no denying that the Lake District is certainly unique!

Aside from being assocaited with fine literature and art, Cumbria and the Lake District are exciting places to live and work. The farming families who have lived there over the generations have shaped and moulded the landscape we all know and love today.

This is an extremely exciting time for Cumbria and its residents. The Government may well submit the application for WHS to UNESCO in 2011.

While World Heritage Site status doesn't bring the monetary reward of, say, a Nobel Prize, it is nevertheless a major trophy which, in ranking the Lake District alongside the existing list of Heritage Sites of the World, would have a major impact on the region, both social and economic.

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A complete guide to the Lakes can be found at The the Lake District Guide where you can find comprehensive listings of hotels and other accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and all the best visitor attractions.

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