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10 reasons the Lake District deserves World Heritage status

13 July 2015

The Lake District is a cultural landscape that has inspired generations of artists, writers, industrialists, entrepreneurs and farmers to shape the world around them. It is continually changing as communities, visitors and businesses blend together to create an evolving masterpiece.

But what really makes it so special and why do we deserve to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site?

We have created ten unique attributes of the Lake District to define the evolving masterpiece that is our wonderful backdrop and the place we know and love…

Let’s start with a look at the first five:


1. Landscape

The Lake District has been modified by people for thousands of years. It is a fantastic example of a ‘cultural landscape’ in which nature has been modified by farming and industry to produce a landscape of spectacular beauty.

2. Complex geology

During the last Ice Age the Lake District was shaped by glaciers which carved U-shaped valleys, some of which filled up with water to form lakes. The valleys radiate out from the centre of the Lake District like the spokes of a wheel, reflecting the movement of the glaciers. The rocks of the Lake District are varied and reflect many geological periods.

3. Natural environment

The natural backdrop of the Lake District includes rich flora and fauna. Significant habitats range from the coast to high mountains and include lakes, wetlands, peat bogs and native woodland. Significant local wildlife includes freshwater mussels, native fish including Arctic charr and vendace, natterjack toads and red squirrels. Many of these have both national and European importance.

4. Archaeology

Humans have lived in the Lake District for more than 10,000 years. The archaeological traces of this long period include Neolithic stone circles and rock art, Bronze and Iron Age settlements, Roman roads and forts, mediaeval pele towers and monasteries, and the remains of past industries.

5. Industry

The Lake District has been the setting for a number of important industries based on abundant raw materials. Rocks and minerals, timber and charcoal from local woodlands, wool and flax, and power from the powerful rivers and becks. More recently the Lake District was busy with mining and quarrying, iron smelting and gunpowder manufacture. Traditional Lake District farmhouses were built from local rock and roofed with local slate

Stay tuned - we’ll be sharing our next five reasons with you soon.

Tell us what you think #lakedistrictbid

In the meantime…don’t forget to tell us what you think makes the Lake District special, share your photos, videos and more using our hashtag #lakedistrictbid and show your support!

About the author

World Heritage Team

Coordinating World Heritage Site communications on behalf of the Lake District National Park Partnership