Lake District Future – reflections 3 – Wild, managed, natural, re-wilded

Respondents to the Lake District Futures Project showed a wide range of perceptions both of what the Lake District is like, and what it should be like in future, so a few more quotes and facts to get you thinking about your perceptions:

  • The majority of respondents saw the Lake District as a managed environment (60%), though nearly a third (30%) perceived it to be ‘natural’.
  • 34% saw the last 200 years as a period in which it had, ‘changed a lot’ whilst 46% felt it had ‘changed a little’ (don’t know, 11%; hardly changed at all, 10%).
  • This image of the Lakes as being natural, and not having changed is interesting and tends to influence people to want things to stay as they are.  At the same time it means many people do not realise the cultural significance of the long history of interaction between people and the Lake District landscape.
  • What effect would changes in the landscape have on people coming to the Lakes:
    Questionnaire responses to how changes in landscape would affect how often people chose to come to the Lake District

    Questionnaire responses to how changes in landscape would affect how often people chose to come to the Lake District

    So what would we like to see it as in the future? More wild, more managed, more for wildlife or more for cultural landscapes, local livelihoods or historic significance…

  • “for Monbiot this may be bowling greens with contours… for other people it gives them an enormous sense of liberation, of spiritual refreshment, wonderful views, highly complex sheep farming systems… they come to see lambs skipping in the fields, and pretty houses and the mountains “
  • “rewilding is happening in patches all over the place… by the end of this year we will have planted 15000 trees – it’s happening!”
  • “here, if you don’t like open fells, with 1cm high grass, then don’t come”
  • “people should be able to come here and see white tailed eagles and… have that sense that they are coming to a special place and not just… another slightly nobblier version of the countryside”

These are all powerful and inspiring images of what is, could and should happen in the Lakes, but, can they all happen together? Tomorrow… its not what you do, its the way that you do it…

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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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