Meet our teams

Strategy and Rangers

The Strategy and Rangers service leads the strategic thinking for the Lake District National Park Authority as well as delivering projects on the ground to improve what the National Park has to offer everyone. We do this by focusing on our natural and historic environment, maintaining and improving access and recreation opportunities and by supporting the Fix the Fells project. We also develop and deliver sustainable transport projects, create the conditions for sustainable development to support economic growth through the Local Plan, and lead on managing the carbon budget for the National Park.

We are always considering the National Park’s future, with influence nationally and internationally; to monitor how the National Park is faring; and to support and develop the unique Lake District National Park Partnership.

Field Ranger behind a dry-stone wall rebuilding it to add drainage

Staff Blog

Read Emily's blog when she spent the day with Field Rangers, Den and Finn, on Orrest Head, Windermere. A Day in the Life of a Field Ranger

Visitor Services

Visitor Services help more than three million people discover, explore and enjoy the Lake District National Park every year. We welcome them to the Park through visitor centres, information centres and visitor facilities. We encourage visitors to come to sites like Brockhole on Windermere and Coniston Boating Centre, and to park at Lake District National Park car parks. This means that we are able to generate funds for the Park to be able to re-invest in other projects.

Our Visitor Services team is made up of key areas of work:

  • Information Services Team which operates our Information Centres at Bowness Bay, Keswick and Ullswater
  • Our Fell Top Assessors who summit Hellvellyn throughout the winter to  provide mountain weather forecasts
  • Commercial Property Team who run Coniston Boating Centre, our car parks and maintain toilets throughout the national park
  • Brockhole on Windermere, the Lake District Visitor Centre
  • Learning team who welcome schools, community groups and run public events at Brockhole
  • and our core team based at Wayfaring House, Kendal who work on development projects and fundraising

We aim to generate capital to invest in new developments at Coniston, Brockhole and our Information Centres.

Customer Adviser talking to customer in an Information Centre

Communications and Engagement

Our Communications and Engagement team inform, inspire and engage with people as they visit, live or work in this spectacular National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We do this through inspirational storytelling, talking in an open and honest voice, creating inspirational branding and delivering award-winning campaigns.

In line with our values, you will find the Communications team to be forward-thinking, empowered and incredibly proud of what we do for the National Park. Services include media relations, online content and digital information, social media, partnership support, internal communications, design information and interpretation and more.


The Resources Service is accountable for the effective management of the Authority’s assets (land, buildings, ICT equipment, and cash), the provision of high quality support services to our internal customers (health and safety, financial, facilities, ICT, GIS, performance/risk management and business/service planning) and for planning, deploying and managing our key commercial programmes.

In carrying out these tasks the Service is structured into four integrated sub teams as follows:


Finance manage the Authority finances and governance processes responsible for all current and longer term financial planning, capital and revenue. They also provide advice and coaching to all other services on finance and performance matters and management of Authority insurance matters.

Amy and Jamie enjoying activities at the annual staff conference


ICT manage our  ICT services, both hardware and software and our future IT strategy and development. They also provide internal IT helpdesk services, the provision of “in-house” IT system development and the provision of high quality GIS support across the Authority.


The Programmes team give programme leadership for the commercial development programme, including Brockhole and Coniston Boating Centre redevelopments, the Greenside mine management plan, other new large projects and support for continuous business process improvement. It also provides Authority lead and co-ordination on Health and Safety, Project management and Business/Service planning matters.


The Property team give effective management and maintenance of the Authority property portfolio, including the management of all our leases and tenant relationships and our ongoing Property review programme. They also provide facilities services for our owned properties and the provision of expertise and leadership around carbon reduction.

Volunteer Coordinator with Volunteers

People and Organisation Development

The People service is responsible for supporting our employees, managers, and volunteers. We want to ensure that everyone who works for the Lake District National Park Authority in any role is well supported and feels engaged and part of the organisation.

Development Management

We help people with the planning advice they need and manage the applications they make to carry out work in line with national planning legislation - as the Local Planning Authority for the Lake District.

Our work includes assessing proposals with our planning policies, which seek to achieve the Vision for the Lake District and taking planning decisions. We advise our Development Control Committee on significant casework and take action when unacceptable work is carried out without permission. You can find out more about what we do, helpful guides, advice, who we are and how to contact us on our planning webpages.

Planning Manager digging a hole to plant a tree

Development  Management is a hard working, professional team of qualified planners, a Woodlands Officer who looks after trees and woodlands in the national park and a core dedicated data management support team.

Watch our video explaining the role of planning in the national park

Executive Board and Strategic Leadership Team

Richard Leafe - Chief Executive

Richard Leafe

Leads the Authority. Ensures the overall working of the Authority, that our external representation is professional, promotes us effectively and develops constructive partnerships and relationships that improve the national park for all. Ensures we have clear strategy, business plans, effective monitoring processes and financial management.

Background, particular interests and hobbies:

Born in Nottingham in 1965, educated in Nottingham at Fernwood Comprehensive School and Sheffield University, graduating with a BSc and MPhil in Geography.

Previously worked for English Nature and its successor Natural England in a variety of roles from coastal geomorphologist to Regional Director for the North West. Joined the Lake District National Park Authority in June 2007 as Chief Executive.

Hobbies include walking, climbing, fell running, cycling and skiing, all supporting a life-long passion for high places.

Follow Richard on Twitter at @LakesChief

Steve Ratcliffe - Director of Sustainable Development

Steve Ratcliffe

Leads the planning profession for the Authority. Advises on strategy and policies, facilitating the delivery of the Vision for the National Park. Committed to working with partners, having established the Lake District National Park Partnership. Directs Development Management, Park Management and Strategy and Partnerships.

Background, particular interests and hobbies

Born in North Wales and moved to the Lake District in 2005.

Having graduated as a planner, Steve spent the earlier part of his career at Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Interests include gardening, sea kayaking and canoeing, running, community life in Witherslack and being a family man.

Gavin Capstick – Director of Visitor Services and Resources

Gavin Capstick

Gavin is responsible for leading the Authority's visitor services, commercial activities and corporate support functions.

He is passionate about increasing understanding of the National Park and promoting access to, and enjoyment of, the natural environment.

Born in Brough and educated at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, Gavin began his career as a Public Relations Officer with both Cumbria County Council and Capita. He then spent 11 years with Carlisle City Council in Policy, Community Service, and Contract Management roles.

He joined the LDNPA in 2018 as Head of Programmes and Resources and was appointed Director of Visitor Services and Resources in 2022.

Background, particular interests and hobbies

Outside of work he enjoys mountain biking, running, and exploring the great outdoors with his family.

Strategic Leadership Team

Our Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) report into the Executive Board.