Lake District Future – reflections 1 – The Lake District Now

The results of the Lake District futures research project seem to suggest our perceptions of the Lake District now, influences our choice of future scenarios for the Park.  So what do people think about the Lake District now – a few quotes and figures to get you thinking…

Positive perception of the state of the Lake District National Park

Questionnaire respondents rated ecological features and wildlife as good or very good:

  • State of ecological features – 51% rated ‘good or very good’ vs 12% ‘poor or very poor’
  • State of the wildlife – 49% rated ‘good or very good’ vs 7% ‘poor or very poor’.

Positive Reality?

This positive perception  is in contrast to the opinions of a number of the interviewees and  the impression given by the state of nature report.

“we’re really seeing all sorts of interesting, charismatic species in freefall… Particularly things like curlew, snipe, merlin …”

Rose-tinted glasses?

There was a suggestion amongst a number of respondents that there is a tendency to see the beautiful landscape of the Lakes, and see it as some kind of ‘nirvana’ where the wildlife and ecology must be in a good state…

“I think there is a perception amongst the general public that the Lakes is a wildlife oasis, which doesn’t necessarily match the reality”

“The Lake District is a devastated landscape; the high fells in particular are almost devoid of wildlife, with a severely limited biodiversity. This has resulted from chronic overgrazing by sheep… Few visitors appreciate this, or what the fells could become if managed for wildlife. Heavily subsidised sheep farming makes no sense either environmentally or economically.”

So is wildlife protection a major purpose in your view of the Lake District?  Had you always assumed the wildlife was flourishing in the Lakes?  Would you consider changes in the way the Lakes looked, if it improved the wildlife?

Tomorrow… what is the Lake District for…


About domhall

I have spent the last 15 years juggling careers in education publishing, expedition leadership and safety training. It has involved a careful balancing act of dreams of expedition travel, a love of climbing, walking and the outdoors and the the realities of life - and the later has definitely come off worse. I've run an adventure travel and expedition training business and lived in the sometimes sunny Lake District. Having taken a year out to complete an MSc in Environmental Technology I am now working for The Conservation Volunteers, working on engaging communities in their local green spaces.
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