Children looking down from Hallin Fell

John Muir Award

John Muir Award logo

If you’re a teacher or community group leader in or visiting Cumbria, and you want a meaningful way to engage young people with wild places in the Lake District then why not consider the John Muir Award?

The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places, run by the John Muir Trust. It encourages everyone to connect with, enjoy and care for our wild places. Taking part in the Lake District National Park will help develop an understanding of this special place and enable you to look after it.

Who was John Muir?

John Muir lived from 1838 - 1914. He was born in Scotland and was a key founder of the modern conservation movement. His passion for wild places led to a life-long quest to protect them. Find out more about John Muir and how he campaigned for the world's first National Parks.

The Lake District is a fantastic place to achieve your John Muir Award. There’s lots to discover, explore, conserve and share, and find out about what makes our National Park special.

Who is the John Muir Award for?

Most people achieve their John Muir Award as part of a school (suitable for upper primary level and above) or community group, but you can also take part as a family or individual. It is non-competitive, inclusive and accessible.

What’s involved?

Four Challenges lie at the heart of the award:

  1. Discover a wild place
  2. Explore its wildness
  3. Do something to conserve it
  4. Share your experiences

The wild place could be anywhere in or around the National Park -  a local pond, wildlife garden or school grounds, or beaches, woods, rivers or mountains.

Full details of how to achieve a John Muir Award

Children from Moorside School in Cumbria on a John Muir fieldtrip.

Your John Muir Award in the Lake District

Connect with the Lake District National Park for your award:

  1. Discover what you think is special about your chosen wild places in the Lake District, ask others and  compare your ideas to our list of special qualities and outstanding universal value of the Lake District
  2. Explore what plants and creatures live and grow in your wild place
  3. Make connections between John Muir and the National Parks
    1. Download the resource guide to learn about John Muir (pdf)
    2. Download the resource guide to learn about the UK's National Parks (pdf)
    3. What would Muir have enjoyed in the Lake District, where would he have gone, what would he have thought about our wild places? (True Fact – Wordsworth and Coleridge were both heroes of John Muir and he visited their graves in Grasmere in 1893!)

Watch a short film about the John Muir Award in our National Parks. Set in the Lake District, it captures perspectives from teachers, pupils, volunteers and staff.

Where to go and what to do?

Our visiting pages will give you an overview of all the Lake District valleys, plenty of easy walks to get you started and many more adventurous options. Fancy some star gazing anyone? Fancy some easy access walk routes, try our 50 Miles without Stiles routes.

Top up on some facts and figures and learning then head over to our Learning pages for everything from Coniston Copper to extreme Weather via farming, geology, landscape and tourism.

Children on mountain bikes on a fellside in the Lake District

Graham Watson planting a tree

Want to discuss plans for your John Muir Award?

Contact the John Muir Award Manager for Cumbria:

Graham Watson
01539 792653

The John Muir Award for Groups, Individuals and Families

Most people achieve a John Muir Award as part of a group whether with school or community.

Some groups stay at one of the many Outdoor Centres in the Lake District where the John Muir Award can be an integral part of the activities. If the Outdoor Centre doesn’t offer the John Muir Award then why not ask them to do so? We can assist them in setting this up.

You can also achieve the John Muir Award through activities you run yourself as a school or community group.

Check out these case studies for inspiration

#BrilliantResidentials in the Lake District National Park

See what makes a quality residential learning experience, with adventurous activity, a National Park setting and a strong curriculum context.

Ennerdale and Patterdale Schools

Two schools set out to discover and explore their local upland commons on opposite sides of the Lake District, and share their experiences.

"Cumbria has a fantastic teaching resource in its outstanding natural environment which we should be making more use of. The John Muir Award provides a great framework for bringing together enjoyment of the outdoors and learning about how we need to value and take responsibility for our environment. I don't hesitate to recommend it to teachers."

Matthew Ellis, Outdoor Learning and Educational Visits Consultant, Cumbria County Council Children's Services

The John Muir Award is also used by individuals and families. It makes a great holiday or long term project for exploring your home area or a new place you’re visiting.

Check out the John Muir Trust array of Individual and Family case studies

"The Lake District has long been a place both to seek adventure and to learn about the environment and our relationship with it. In a world of diverse challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and physical inactivity, it has never been more important to inspire young people to be adventurous, to have hands-on real life experiences of our world in order that they understand and care for it. I’d encourage every school Governor and Head Teacher to support school residential visits to National Parks."

Richard Leafe, CEO, Lake District National Park Authority.

School children on a fell summit in the Lake District.


Training is not mandatory for using the John Muir Award. The process is fairly straight forward, and you can plan and register an Award now. However, some people find training helps with confidence and to get new ideas. The John Muir Trust provide training both online and face to face. Find out more on the John Muir Trust training page.

"Really good, helpful and informative course. I learnt a lot, had a very positive experience, inspiring and lots to take away. Thanks!"

Dawn Elliott, outdoor education teacher.

John Muir Trust

The John Muir Trust is a community focused conservation charity dedicated to the experience, protection and repair of wild places across the UK.