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Join us on a virtual tour to find out why the Lake District deserves World Heritage status

25 July 2016

We’re looking forward to launching Bird HIVE, a 360 degree virtual flight tour of the iconic Lake District, at Kendal Calling and Lakes Alive festivals this summer in support of the World Heritage bid. Festival goers are being given the chance to soar like a bird, scale a mountain and ripple across the top of a lake, within just three minutes, taking a bird’s eye view of four iconic Lake District locations.

In this blog, we’ll be revealing the locations included in the 360 film and why they deserve the special recognition that comes with World Heritage status.



Our first location we’re revealing is beautiful Buttermere in the northern Lake District.

Taken from Old English meaning: 'butter lake, the lake with good pasture-land', Buttermere is both the name of the small farming village and the lake that lies at the foot of some spectacular fells, including Wainwright’s favourite, Haystacks. Its mixture of lakes, woodland and fells create stunning views and a perfect Lake District snapshot.

So perfect that in 1798 it inspired renowned artist Joseph Turner’s dramatic oil painting: ‘Buttermere Lake, with Part of Crummock Water, Cumberland, a Shower’ – this was one of a set of paintings that transformed Turner from a painter of architecture to a painter of rugged landscapes and their elements.

This amazing landscape continues to inspire people to this day. Sweep across Buttermere in our BirdHIVE 360 virtual tour and then walk in the footsteps of Wainwright and Turner by joining one of our guided walks in the northern lakes.

Join us on one of our World Heritage guided walks

Buttermere photograph by Val Corbett





Grasmere is a much more popular area compared to the quieter Buttermere. Designated a Conservation Area since 1984, it’s not hard to see why visitors flock here every year to appreciate the world-famous poetry of William Wordsworth, the glassy reflection of Grasmere and the spectacular inspirational landscape.

With his sister, Dorothy, William Wordsworth wrote poetry that was directly inspired by the landscape and the people who lived in the Lake District, describing Grasmere as the ’the fairest place on earth’. As well as writing poems he was also an advocate for the Lake District and together with John Ruskin was part of the early ideas which led to conservation movements and the establishment of the National Trust and National Parks.

Since 1854 visitors to this pretty village have been able to smell the scent of gingerbread in the air from the traditional Sarah Nelson gingerbread shop, which used to serve as Wordsworth’s school. The gingerbread recipe is a closely guarded secret and the taste is unique!

Step inside BirdHIVE and see if you can spot Wordsworth’s ‘Dove Cottage’ home and the beautiful yellow daffodil memorial garden – a reminder of the famous Wordsworth poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’.

Here’s a few ideas to help you make the most of your visit to Grasmere:

Feel the Force Audio Trail Walk - a gently-sloping linear route that follows the route from Grasmere village towards Easedale Tarn complete with audio trail.

Take a step-free walk around Grasmere on our Miles without Stiles route – remember to share your photos on social media using #lakedistrictbid

Grasmere photograph by Val Corbett





BirdHIVE swoops across the steep grey descent of Honister slate mine and down the mountain ‘pass’ – a steep, narrow road that cuts through the head of Borrowdale with the head of Buttermere, reaching altitudes of 1,167 feet (356m), making it a challenging route for cyclists!

Honister offers a fascinating glimpse into the Lake District’s rich industrial heritage. This slate mine used to be the workplace of miners, where they would tunnel deep hollows into the sides of the valley, using a via ferrata – a chain walk across a wire at height of over 2,000 feet! These workers would often live in makeshift stone bothy shelters for up to two weeks while they worked on sections at a time.

From the BirdHIVE 360 film of Honister you can see the way the landscape has been shaped by man over time and why the Lake District is not just a natural beauty, but a cultural landscape. It has evolved over time and will continue to do so.

Visit Honister and take on the Via Ferrata – share your selfies using #lakedistrictbid



Tarn Hows

Perhaps not as majestic as some of the bigger lakes, tarns refer to a small mountain lake or pool – and the Lake District has more than 100 tarns!

Originally a man-made area, Tarn Hows was once three separate islands, and in Victorian times, a beck was dammed, creating the tarns you see today with little islands to navigate around.

In 1930 Beatrix Potter bought the Monk Coniston Estate, 4000 acres from Little Langdale to Coniston, which contained Tarn Hows. Beatrix Potter used the money she earned from her famous books to buy farms in the Lake District and breed Herdwick sheep, helping preserve the traditional farming way of life. After her death her farms were donated to the National Trust, including Tarns Hows.

Take this easy step-free walk to discover for yourself why Beatrix Potter loved this area so much.


Back the bid and find out more about the Lake District’s rich heritage.



About the author

World Heritage Team

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