Illustration for landscapes for everyone

Attributes of Outstanding Universal Value

These are the English Lake District's attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and the component parts of these attributes. They have been agreed by the Partnership.

Theme 1: A landscape of exceptional beauty, shaped by persistent and distinctive agro pastoral and local industry which gives it special character

Attibute: Extraordinary beauty and harmony

  • The physical natural landscape of mountains, rivers, lakes, and valleys.
  • The physical cultural landscape in the main the product of agro-pastoralism, settlements and local industry, including woodlands.
  • The variety and combination of differing landscape characters and physical attributes of each of the 13 valleys.

Attribute: Agro-pastoral system

  • Evidence, intactness, and legibility of settlements and the agro pastoral character and function of the field systems and their waterways.
  • Farmsteads and Farmhouses.
  • Shepherds meets/shows and traditional sports.
  • The unique practices of the agro-pastoral farming system.
  • The surviving physical and social elements of hill farming e.g. shepherding and common gathering.
  • Local techniques of landscape maintenance (stonewalling, hedging, pollarding).
  • Local management and governance of Lake District farming systems, e.g. activities of breeders associations and commons committees.
  • Common land and the long standing and continuing traditions of Common land management.
  • Semi-natural habitats created and sustained as a result of a continuing agro-pastoral systems, for example hay meadows, pollards, wood pasture, and coppiced woodland. The mosaic of semi natural habitats above the fell wall within an actively grazed landscape.
  • Ancient Semi-Natural Woodlands.

Attribute: Local industries

  • Traditional local woodland industries, people and skills.
  • The physical remains of past woodland industries, buildings, structures (i.e. Bark Barns, Charcoal Sheds).
  • The physical remains of historic mines and quarries which have shaped the landscape.

Attribute: Towns and settlements

  • The English Lake District’s settlement pattern of individual farms, small hamlets, large villages and market towns, historically derived and functionally.
  • Medieval buildings.
  • Vernacular buildings.

Theme 2: A landscape which has inspired artistic and literary movements and generated ideas about landscapes that have had global influence and left their physical mark

Attribute: Early tourism

  • Places and collections associated with early tourism.
  • Early tourist infrastructure.
  • The location of viewing stations, including structures in very limited cases.
  • Other key views that form the image of the Lake District.
  • The values, aesthetic ideals and perceptions which led to the creation of early tourism.

Attribute: Villas, gardens and formal landscapes

  • Villa Landscapes – their buildings, gardens and surrounding designed landscapes.
  • The values, aesthetic ideals and perceptions which led to their creation.
  • Physical designed landscapes.

Attribute: Sites and collections associated with the Picturesque and Romanticism

  • Residences and places associated with significant writers and poets.
  • Key literary and artistic associations with Landscape. Surviving landscape which inspired literature and art.
  • The value and significance of ideas and writings of writers and poets and artist.
  • Perception and enjoyment of sites and collections associated with Picturesque and Romanticism.
  • Key associations with the origins of the outdoor movement.
  • Buildings linked to early outdoor holiday movement.
  • Surviving landscape which inspired early climbing, outdoors recreation and the early outdoor holiday movement.
  • The Romantic emphasis on outdoor activity and experience – principally walking.
  • The open access to the Lake District Fells and lakes for recreation.

Theme 3: A landscape which has been the catalyst for key developments in the national and international protection of landscapes

Attribute: Landscape conservation

  • Areas of the World Heritage property where historic landscape conservation battles were both won and lost.
  • The idea of landscape conservation inspired by the English Lake District landscape and the universal value of scenic and cultural landscape transcending traditional property rights.
  • The landscape is protected for its scenic and cultural value and is protected for the Nation.
  • The perception that the landscape is protected for its scenic and cultural value and is protected for the Nation by public and state support.
  • Properties owned or managed by the National Trust.
  • The knowledge and perception that the creation of the National Trust was inspired by the English Lake District.
  • Landscapes owned and sympathetically managed to sustain our Outstanding Universal Values by the Partnership and other landscape conservation bodies.
  • Farms and land purchased by individuals and public subscription to protect the landscape and our Outstanding Universal Values e.g. traditional farming.
  • Organisations and public participating in landscape conservation.
  • The perception and enjoyment of an open landscape.

Attribute: The ability of people to experience the spirit and feeling of the Lake District

  • The ability to feel the values, ideas and perceptions of harmonious beauty and other significance derived from the Picturesque and Romantic traditions specific to the English Lake District.
  • The value of landscape for restoring the human spirit and wellbeing.
  • Opportunities for quiet enjoyment and spiritual refreshment.