The Lake District national park has been listed as a world heritage site, becoming the UK’s first national park to be granted the status when inscribed as Unesco World Heritage Site: The English Lake District.
In awarding the status, Unesco’s committee praised the area's beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers including children’s author Beatrix Potter and poet William Wordsworth. It also suggested that the impact of tourism be monitored and requested improvements be made in the conservation of the area, which is visited by around 18 million people a year.
The announcement in Krakow on 9th July means the Lake District joins just over 1000 iconic locations such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and Grand Canyon as a place of international acclaim. The success of the has led to jubilation among 25 organisations in the Lake District National Park Partnership who had put the bid together for UNESCO recognition in the cultural landscape category.
Following the 41st UNESCO committee meeting held in Krakow, John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said "This decision will undoubtedly elevate the position of the Lake District internationally, boosting tourism and benefitting local communities and businesses." However, there are concerns that the Lake District is not equipped to respond to the extra attention the award will generate.
But the mood following the announcement has been overwhelmingly celebratory, with fans of the Lake Disctrict across the country offering their congratulation via social media. And this weekend (15th-16th July) visitors to the UK’s latest World Heritage Site are are encouraged to take a trip to their favourite picnic spot, café, garden, fell or iconic lakeside view in the National Park and share their photos using #WeAreTheLakes, which will appear on the World Heritage website.
For more information on the bid and the subsequent award visit www.lakesworldheritage.co.uk