What will UNESCO status do for the Lake District?
In July 2017 and after several attempts, the Lake District gained UNESCO World Heritage status. This is quite an achievement as it puts the Lakes on a par with the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal. The difference, of course, is that the Lakes is a distinct geographical area, not a monument or a geographical landmark. It is a first, as the status recognises that the cultural heritage of the Lakes is important, sheep farming and all that that way of life entails. It is hoped that this recognition will help preserve the ways of life for hill farmers and in turn this will help to preserve the beautiful landscape that we all love. The sheep farmers help to ensure the land is looked after and cared for.
Obviously the National Park Authority and the Natioonal Trust are supposed to ensure that the fells are maintained and so visitors and locals alike can enjoy all that the Lakes has to offer. Hopefully this additional recognition, this time from an international organisation will make a difference because if we simply preserve the land we will lose something of the community of the Lakes. We will lose th real heart of the Lakes. It is this that makes the Lakes such a wonderful place, the people that live here. One without the other would create a Lake District museum, not a living, breathing and vibrant community. Let’s hope that this is not just a label, that it really makes a change. Only time will tell…