Herdwick sheep in Borrowdale Valley - copyright Andrew Locking

FAQs and useful information about World Heritage Status

What is a World Heritage Site?

UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

These World Heritage Sites are places that are inscribed by UNESCO because they are of outstanding global special cultural or physical significance. The official term is World Heritage Inscription and means the English Lake District appears on the World Heritage List. UNESCO says “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located”.

The Lake District World Heritage Site is:

  1. One of just over 1,000 World Heritage Sites (1,052)
  2. The UK's largest World Heritage Site: 229,200 ha (1951 boundary)
  3. The UK's 31st UNESCO World Heritage Site
  4. The only UK National Park that will entirely be a World Heritage site, joining:
  5. Cumbria's second World Heritage Site together with Hadrian's Wall
  6. One of eight World Heritage Sites looked after by the National Trust
  7. One of 15 National Parks. The others are: Brecon Beacons, the Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, the Yorkshire Dales, the Broads, the New Forest and the South Downs.

Preparing the World Heritage Site bid:

Making our case for World Heritage:

World Heritage Technical evaluation 2013 (PDF)

Nomination Dossier:

The World Heritage Nomination Document and Partnership’s Plan

Planning implications:

National Park Authority Planning Statement 2006

Royal Institute for British Architects in the Northwest - implications of World Heritage Site Inscription in April 2008

Principal settlements of the Lake District and World Heritage Status

Economic benefits research: 2009 World Heritage Status - Is there an opportunity for economic gain?

2013 How the Lake District and Cumbria can benefit from World Heritage Status -
report (PDF)
by Rebanks Consulting Ltd

A Royal stamp of approval:

On 26 March 2018, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, unveiled a special installation to mark the National Park’s World Heritage inscription at a special community event at Crow Park, Keswick. The special inscription event was made possible through funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development as part of the LEADER programme.

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