3 Case study
The Lake District is a rural area located in the north-west of England encompassing a series of lakes and mountains (or ‘fells’) and containing England’s largest national park, the Lake District National Park. The Lake District also contains Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. The area is associated with the writings of a number of early nineteenth-century Romantic poets, including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey. Wordsworth’s famous poem, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, was written about the daffodils growing on the shores of Lake Ullswater. The Lake District has been a popular tourist destination since the late eighteenth century, and remains a popular place for recreation as well as nature conservation. Its complex layers of heritage value are comprised of its literary associations, its natural beauty, its recreational values and its geographical, ecological and biological diversity. There are also specific ‘industrial heritage’ trails in parts of the Lake District that relate to slate and iron mining. Indeed, its industrial heritage is something of a surprise to some visitors.
When this audio piece was recorded, the Lake District was on the Tentative World Heritage List (it was added to the tentative list in 1997). Those involved in the bid were in the process of trying to prove to UNESCO that the Lake District meets certain criteria which demonstrate its outstanding universal values. If successful, it will achieve the status of World Heritage site in 2012, in which case it would become one of the largest and most complex World Heritage sites and the first ‘cultural landscape‘ World Heritage site in England.
Listen to ‘Lake District 1’ (duration 14 minutes), linked below. Pay particular attention to the ways in which each of the contributors defines the significance of the Lake District, and what they suggest the benefits of World Heritage listing might be for the Lake District. You might like to take a look at the website of the for an update on where the World Heritage bid is up to now, and to see some images of the area. Some images of the Lake District landscape are available below.