Thank you for your ideas. What’s next…?

The Lake District Foundation is the charity for the Lake District.

We bring together everyone who cares about this magnificent part of the planet, and that includes you!

As we look to the future, we wanted to hear from the people who live, work and play in the Lake District.

We asked for your ideas on the biggest challenges facing the area and what our priorities should be.

We were overwhelmed to receive nearly 200 articulate and detailed responses. In fact, your ideas amounted to over 11,000 words! We’re inspired by your passion and dedication for the region; thank you for sharing your ideas.

In this post, we’re going to attempt to (very) briefly summarise your key concerns and offer a sense of how our they will shape our plans.

There is huge support for the issue of clean rivers and lakes, with 76.5% of respondents suggesting it should be a priority.

Some respondents advocated for more support for farmers, whilst others expressed concern at the amount of land controlled by farmers. This feeds into a sense that there is a lack of biodiversity that risks the creation of monocultures. With this in mind, scores of people said there are too many sheep in the Lakes.

The most mentioned issue was transport. This included a lot of frustration around parking on verges and traffic jams. But mostly, respondents spoke of the need for an affordable, regular, reliable public transport system. Scores of you called for a “park and ride” scheme. Others advocated for better cycling links between villages, as well as buses that carry bikes. Whilst enthusiastic equestrians pointed out that a better bridleway network, that truly works for horses, would also benefit everyone.

There is a sense that there could be “too many” tourists. Rather than attempting to reduce overall numbers, some people suggested that more could be done to spread visitors widely across the National Park. That less famous, but equally beautiful parts of the region should be marketed as alternatives to Windermere, Ambleside and other well-known areas.

The concept of a visitor or tourist tax was mentioned numerous times. This was proposed to offset the damage done by visitors, and the money raised would be invested into looking after the National Park.

A lot of people are concerned about the lack of well-paid jobs and lack of affordable housing for people who live in the Lakes. To support the building of suitable houses and to bolster the local economy, numerous people suggested increasing council tax on second homes and holiday homes.

On a positive note, plenty of people noted that the Lake District is an incredible place to live and to visit It remains a place of peace and tranquillity, a place for outdoors adventures and a place you feel should be as accessible and welcoming as possible.

Your ideas provided rich insight for our small, dedicated team, who shares your passion for the Lake District. But we need your help to implement these ideas.

We are already working on many of the issues you raised and will prioritise these areas of work. We will also consider how we can approach issues beyond our usual remit, including greener transport.

We already know that transport is a priority, and this has been recognised by the National Park Partnership, of which we are a member. We’re working with the partners to identify funding and address this issue. We will also feed your thoughts into conversations about tourist tax emerging at a strategic level.

What we can say for sure is that over the next 5 years we’ll be working hard to fund, collaborate and inspire change on:

  1. Climate Action

We will innovate new ways to fund low carbon initiatives, taking a long-term approach to protecting the region from the impacts of climate change. We will continue to invest in infrastructure that makes the National Park accessible, while protecting it from erosion.

  1. Cleaner Lakes

Acknowledging the complexities around clean water, we will work with everyone who is part of the conversation. Looking at both long-term and immediate solutions, we will continue to educate on septic tanks, engage with farmers and use our role within the Love Windermere Partnership to ensure meaningful action is taken.

  1. Biodiversity

Woodland creation and management is vital for sustaining biodiversity. Beyond simply planting trees, we will educate land managers and work to restore our ancient woodlands, bringing them back from critical status. Hedgerow planting will also increase natural habitats for small animals and encourage bees.

  1. Inclusion and accessibility

Informed by the survey responses, we will ask, ‘Who is missing from the conversation, and why?’ We will help to share the Lake District, and the benefits of the natural world, with everyone. This incredible place should be inclusive and welcoming, no matter your background or access needs.

  1. Cultural Heritage

The people of Cumbria have a rich culture and history which remains visible in neolithic stone circles through to traditional arts and crafts. People make a place, so we will ensure that the region’s rich history of art and literature, industry and rebellion, and innovation in tourism and outdoor pursuits are present throughout our work.

This is just a snapshot, and we are still building our plans, using your responses as inspiration and context for our priorities.

The Lake District Foundation does not receive statutory funding, we rely on donations, and successful trust and grant applications.

If you want to see these plans in action, we need your support.

Will you help to protect the Lake District by making a donation today?

Donate online at https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/donate-to-help-to-care-for-the-lake-district/ or sending a cheque made out to ‘Lake District Foundation’ to Wayfaring House, Murley Moss Business Park, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 7R


Thank you <3

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