70 years of the Lake District National Park

Published on: 05 May 2021

Langdale

This week marks the 70th anniversary of England’s largest national park – the Lake District - formally designated as the UK’s second park for the nation on 9 May, 1951.

This anniversary follows a year in which people have appreciated open spaces and nature more than ever, as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, according to Lake District National Park Authority Chief Executive, Richard Leafe.

Richard says: “This last year has shown us how much people value this protected, national landscape and how important it has been for everyone’s wellbeing. This National Park is home to flourishing wildlife, incredible landscapes and culture and thriving communities - over 41,000 people live here and 19 million visit each year. It’s a place that’s loved by millions and cared for by many.

“This anniversary is a chance to reflect on highlights from the last seven decades, and to look ahead too,” continues Richard.

“National Parks were created to protect iconic landscapes and to ensure they’re accessible to everyone – something that’s hugely relevant 70 years on. Our focus will continue to be on ensuring this is a place for all visitors to enjoy. We’ll also be tackling some of the major challenges facing society, such as climate change to nature recovery,” adds Richard Leafe.

“And all this can’t be done without the expertise and local insights of Authority staff, our members and incredible volunteers. From planners to rangers and visitor services teams to specialist advisers who engage with our farmers and local communities – we’re working hard to protect the future of the National Park and ensure it remains a Lake District for everyone.”

The National Park birthday celebrations will continue through to August when the National Park Authority marks another milestone, 70 years since it was founded and work began to begin looking after this special place.

People are invited to mark the anniversary by sharing their favourite Lake District memory on social media, using #LakeDistrict70 and tagging Lake District National Park.

Some of the key achievements over the last 70 years include:

  1. 48 Miles without Stiles routes across the National Park - for people with limited mobility, wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, and anyone wanting a simple stile-free walk
  2. Signing up to become net carbon zero - by 2025 as an Authority and by 2037 across the Lake District
  3. Working together with the Lake District National Park Partnership - 25 organisations who collectively manage the Park
  4. Becoming a World Heritage Site in 2017 in recognition of the global importance of the National Park’s cultural heritage and landscape
  5. Delivering a £3 million programme to restore the Public Rights of Way network after damage by Storm Desmond (Dec 2015)
  6. Working with local landowners, volunteers, businesses and the community on landmark heritage projects, such as Coniston Coppermines and Duddon Iron Furnace
  7. Creating apprenticeships and connecting people with the traditional skills that protected the wildlife and wooded landscape of the area in the Rusland Valley
  8. Since April 2010 enabling 754 new homes, with a local occupancy condition to be built, of which, 337 (45 per cent) are local affordable homes.
  9. Helping people make the most of the Lake District by opening the UK's first National Park Visitor Centre in 1969 – Brockhole on Windermere, and running three Information Centres and Coniston Boating Centre.
  10. And having over 400 helping hands – volunteers who carry out a huge range of tasks.

Photo shows: Mickleden Valley in Great Langdale featuring the Lake District National Park Authorities adapted logo for 2021 to mark 70 years of the National Park. Photo credit: John Hodgson

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