English Lake District welcomed into UK UNESCO family as 31st UK World Heritage Site

T­­­he English Lake District, a cultural landscape in North West England that inspired Romantic poets and conservationists including William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter, has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Lake District was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017. Read the press release from the newly inscribed English Lake District World Heritage Site here.

The English Lake District

World Heritage Sites are areas recognised for their ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV), meaning their cultural or natural heritage transcends national boundaries and is of importance to present and future generations of all humanity. Recognised for its landscape of mountains, valleys and lakes intertwined with over 1,000 years of human activity, the Lake District will now become the UK’s 31st World Heritage Site, and one of five World Heritage Sites in the UK recognised as a “cultural landscape.”[1]

The UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites form an important part of the diverse UNESCO family in the UK which now includes over 160 UNESCO designations such as Creative Cities, Global Geoparks, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Chairs. All these designations are working toward the common aim of enhancing peace, security and sustainable development by fostering international collaboration through education, science, culture, communication and information.

Helen Maclagan, Culture Director at the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said:

The inscription of the English Lake District demonstrates that it meets the relevant criteria set out in the World Heritage Convention and is a priceless and irreplaceable asset not only to the UK but to humanity as a whole. It joins 30 other spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies ranging from the ancient landscape of Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire, the remote Gough and Inaccessible Islands in the South Atlantic to the Victorian Forth Bridge in Scotland.

 “I am delighted that the rich cultural landscape of the Lake District is now recognised on the world stage. We look forward to working with the Lake District Partnership and continuing our work with World Heritage Sites in the UK to ensure that the full benefits of World Heritage Site status are realised.”

 Chairman of the Lake District National Park Partnership, Lord Clark of Windermere, said:

“Joining the UNESCO family, both in the UK and globally, is a huge opportunity for the Lake District National Park. We believe this designation will have long lasting benefits for everyone who visits, lives and works in this special place.”

Beth Taylor, Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said:

Congratulations to the Lake District on becoming the latest member of the UNESCO family in the UK. They are joining an exciting and active network of UK and global UNESCO designations, organisations and specialists working together to create the international collaborations which underpin UNESCO’s mission of creating peace in the minds of men and women.

“We look forward to exploring with the Lake District Partnership how we can help them contribute to this impressive record of international collaboration.”

Research conducted in 2015 by the UK National Commission for UNESCO found that UK World Heritage Sites generated an estimated £85 million from April 2014 to March 2015 through their association with UNESCO. The research also highlighted that UNESCO World Heritage Site status enhances appreciation of heritage among residents by placing it within a global context; helps foster a world-class tourist destination and enhanced visitor experience; encourages local partnership working; improves local development plans; and helps aid social and economic regeneration.

[1] These are Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew (England), St Kilda (Scotland), Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (Wales), and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (England).