This week has seen the amazing news that the Lake District has been officially named a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Convention (part of UNESCO). This is so exciting for residents and visitors to the Lake District alike. It celebrates the fact that the Lake District is an area of outstanding international importance and deserves special protection. So, what makes the Lake District so special? This question could be answered in so many ways, but these are just some of the things that I love about the Lake District.
One of the main attractions for visitors and residents of the Lake District is, of course, the stunning scenery. The Lakes began to attract attention and tourism through the works of famous Lake Poets like William Wordsworth, whose first family home was Dove Cottage in Grasmere. As well as living in the Lake District, his work was inspired by its beauty, its landscapes and its people. He described the Lake District as, "A sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest ... an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy".
This love for the Lake District was followed by the desire to protect it for future generations. The National Trust was founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley. The first area in the Lake District to be purchased by the National Trust was Brandelhow on Derwentwater, an area of 108 acres of pasture and woodland at the foot of Catbells.
Benefactors of the Lake District include Beatrix Potter, author of the famous children's tales such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Pigling Bland. Beatrix Potter bequeathed no less than 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust, as well as 14 farms and areas of outstanding beauty such as Tarn Hows.
Interesting facts about the Lake District:
- The Lake District officially became a National Park in 1951. It is the largest national park in England with an area of 912 square miles.
- It has at least 200 fell tops, including Scafell Pike, which is the highest mountain in England, at an elevation of 978 metres above sea level. Scafell Pike is included in the Three Peaks Challenge.
- There are 16 lakes, including Wast Water (the deepest natural lake in England at 74m deep) and Windermere (the longest natural lake at 10.5m long).
- There is only one "official" lake in the Lake District, namely Bassenthwaite Lake. The others are 'meres' or 'waters'.
Do you have a favourite place that you like to visit in the Lake District? I'd love to hear in the comments, below. Amongst our favourites are: