Cupid caught in kissing gate

Published on: 30 Jan 2014

As loved-up Britain braces itself for a billion pound Valentine spend, Cupid's arrow points to paying for kissing gates instead of roses.

Rambling Romeos are urged to look beyond the obvious for the ultimate 14 February surprise – and show some devotion to the country's biggest national park.

While UK economy is boosted by around £978m worth of romantic gestures, including 900 million cards and 198 million roses, Lake District gates, footpath signs and bridges need some TLC.

As it prepares a case for the coveted UNESCO world-heritage badge, the Lake District has immediate sights set on tugging some heart strings.

Park management leader Chris Tomlin explained with nearly 2,000 miles of paths and byways, almost 8,000 gates - including 950 kissing varieties - around 3,000 route signposts and 1,400 bridges, maintenance was a big issue.

He said: "We already appeal to those wanting to remember someone special to contribute towards these structures on our website and thought Valentine's Day was a perfect progression.

"Perhaps some of our 15 million visitors, and residents, can cast starry-eyes in our direction on this significant day by buying a kissing gate, or even a signpost, and show they love the Lakes too!"

Lake District National Park administrator Jessica Lawson, 25, and music agent fiancé Phil Simpson, 27 (pictured), both Kendal-based, are getting married this year and want guests to share their passion for the place.

"It gives so much pleasure to so many people, but there is a toll on the landscape and as keen walkers we know it's important to give something back," said Jessica.

"Maybe this Valentine's Day, instead of saying it with flowers, some will think actions speak louder than words and buy their loved ones something that will bring pleasure to thousands.

"When we marry in August, instead of favours we'll be asking guests to support conservation here in the Lakes."

Find out more about supporting the much-loved Lake District on www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/donating

Happy Lake District couple in a kissing gate that people can donate towards

Photo: Bride and groom to be Jessica Lawson and Phil Simpson in a kissing gate, which people can donate towards

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