The English Lake District was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in July 2017. It’s now part of a family of over 1000 world famous and iconic locations across the planet. Think Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, Easter Island, the Amazon rainforest. It is the UK’s 31st World Heritage Site and also the largest. It joins other UK World Heritage Sites like Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Edinburgh old and new towns, and Hadrian’s Wall, representing the best natural and cultural treasures of the country.
So what are World Heritage Sites? Heritage is seen as humanity’s legacy; from the past, how we live today and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. What makes World Heritage Sites unique is that they transcend borders. They are for all, regardless of nationality, fostering peace and cooperation, celebration and conservation.
UNESCO agreed that the Lake District’s cultural landscape was globally special and that it had three attributes that made it unique and significant. Together they are called Outstanding Universal Value. Those attributes are:
- Identity – the Lakes’ characteristic landscapes have for centuries evolved and changed through people’s traditional farming and industry
- Inspiration – these landscapes have in turn shaped and inspired people; the way they see the land, how they are emotionally connected to it, and how they have come to value it
- Conservation – that the Lake District is the birthplace of a global conservation movement
Throughout all the valleys in the Lake District, it is possible to see and experience these attributes for yourself. Here in Ullswater there are examples of all three identified attributes or themes of Outstanding Universal Value.