The Lake District has become a World Heritage Site joining iconic locations such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and Grand Canyon as a place of international acclaim.
The announcement in Krakow has led to jubilation among 25 organisations in the Lake District National Park Partnership who had put the bid together for UNESCO recognition in the cultural landscape category.
Chairman of the Partnership, Lord Clark of Windermere, described the prestigious status as momentous and will bring great benefits for locals, visitors, tourism, businesses and farming. It now joins just over 1,000 World Heritage Sites worldwide.
Three key themes underpinned the bid for World Heritage Site status, recognising the Lake District National Park as a cultural landscape of international significance. These include world ranking examples of identity - the dramatic farmed landscape; inspiration - art, literature and love of the place. This in turn sparked the birth of conservation - people fought and invested to look after this special corner of England.
Lord Clark explained: “It is this exceptional blend which makes our Lake District so spectacularly unique and we are delighted UNESCO has agreed. A great many people have come together to make this happen and we believe the decision will have long and lasting benefits for the spectacular Lake District landscape, the 18million visitors we welcome every year and for the people who call the National Park their home.”
Lake District National Park Chief Executive, Richard Leafe, said there was great excitement over the achievement.
Richard said: “The Lake District is an evolving landscape that has changed over time and will continue to do so. Improving landscape biodiversity and looking after our cultural heritage underpin the Partnership’s management plan which sets out how, together, we will look after the National Park as a World Heritage Site for everyone to enjoy.”
The bid was submitted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Historic England as the UK’s only submission in 2016. Following the 41st UNESCO committee meeting held in Krakow, John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said:
“The Lake District is one of the UK’s most stunning and ancient landscapes and I am thrilled it has been granted World Heritage Site status. It is a unique part of the world, that combines a vibrant farming community with thousands of archaeological sites and structures that give us an amazing glimpse into our past.”
He added: “This decision will undoubtedly elevate the position of the Lake District internationally, boosting tourism and benefitting local communities and businesses.”