Access and Recreation

Access and Recreation

Welcome to our Access and Recreation page which talks about the work we do here to achieve our vision and support the Lake District as a place for everyone to enjoy.

  • Access and Recreation vision
  • Our four themes of work
  • Outcomes and achievements
  • Further information

Our Access and Recreation vision

Our vision is for a well-connected access network, fit for purpose in our 21st century with high quality infrastructure, facilities and services which meet the needs of all residents and visitors.

4 themes of work

We have identified four priority themes of work.

Improve rights of way and countryside access - illustration of wheelchair user in the lakes

+ Improve: rights of way & countryside access

Developing the Coast to Coast National Trail, accessibility improvement, and new and improved access through the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme.

manage and maintain

+ Manage and maintain: rights of way, countryside access and recreational activities

Improving ease of use of rights of way, supporting the Fix the Fells programme and maintaining Miles without Stiles routes to a high standard.

promote engage and connect

+ Promote and engage: connect more people to nature and the special qualities of the Lake District

Provide information, guided walks and waymarking to ensure the Lake District is for everyone. Continue education work at Brockhole and engagement on enjoyable, responsible and safe visiting.

integrate  with health and wellbeing

+ Integrate: with health and wellbeing sustainable transport and the economy

Draw together activities focussing on villages and towns, enabling residents and visitors to take part in healthy sustainable active travel. Connect towns on the edge of the national park through active travel routes.

Achievements 2017-2023

We've some great achievements to report so far across our areas of work. This includes the below six outcomes.

50 Accessible Paths

50 Accessible Paths

Promoting and maintaining 50 Miles without Stiles accessible paths including the new route to the spectacular viewpoint of Orrest Road. Restarting the volunteer-led guided walk programme in which 1,389 people participated in 2022.

Reopening K2T

Reopening Keswick to Threlkeld

Reopening the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail in 2020, which welcomed 265,000 visitors in its first year, contributing £15m to the local economy.

Establishing Ullswater Way

Establishing Ullswater Way

Establishing the Ullswater Way, opened in 2016 as an iconic walking or running challenge, with an estimated 70,000 users per annum and a community-led heritage programme to support and engage. Completing the Routes to Resilience programme in 2018 which repaired 74 bridges, 58 paths and 30 gates and stiles.

Green Recovery Project

Green Recovery Challenge

Welcoming new school and youth groups from communities outside the national park through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund learning programme at Brockhole.

adding 15km of paths

Adding 15km of paths

Adding 15km of path to the rights of way network and upgrading 691 gates and stiles to improve accessibility.

Repaired storm damage through routes to resilience

Repaired storm damage through routes to resilience

Restored 26km of upland path between 2019 and 2022 through the European Rural Development Fund (ERDF) funded Fix the Fells programme.

This Resulted In...

  • Health and wellbeing benefits to the nation through and after the Covid pandemic by managing safe, enjoyable and responsible visiting. 72% of visitors felt physically better and 90% felt mentally better as a result of their visit to the Lake District.
  • People of all ages visiting the Lake District. In 2018 52% of visitors to Cumbria were under 50, in 2022 74% were under 50.
  • Welcoming a more diverse visitor mix. In 22% of visitor groups including someone in their group who considered themselves part of a minority ethic community, up from 2% in 2018.
  • Helping the visitor economy recover from the Covid pandemic. 70% of all visitors enjoyed a walk, while visiting the Lake District, in 2022, spending an estimated £945 million per annum.

Read our full Access and Recreation Strategy 'Out There' (pdf download).