“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located”. UNESCO

What is a World Heritage Site ?

UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

The English Lake District World Heritage Site

The Lake District National Park as defined by the 1951 boundary. Is the UK’s 31st World Heritage Site and its largest. It covers 221,000 ha, has a population of 41,000 and 23,000 homes. It has 42,026 ha of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), 14,000 ha in County Wildlife Sites, 8,000 ha in Regionally Important Geological Sites, over 10,000 ha of ancient semi-natural woodland, 16,500 archaeological sites including 333 scheduled monuments, 2,200km of footpaths and 121,000 ha of open access land.

Why is the Lake District a World Heritage Site ?

There are three intertwining and interdependent themes that reflect UNESCO’s criteria for inscription and attributes of OUV. They are:

Identity a landscape of exceptional beauty, shaped by persistent and distinctive agro-pastoral traditions and local industry which give the Lake District a special character.

Inspiration a landscape which has inspired artistic and literary movements and generated ideas about landscapes that have had global influence and left their physical mark.

Conservation it is a landscape which has been the catalyst for key developments in the national and international protection of landscapes.

The documentation submitted to UNESCO to support the Lake District’s bid for World Heritage Site status has a wealth of in-depth detail on each of the 13 valleys and what each valley’s OUVs are.

Go to to dive deeper into the English Lake District’s World Heritage Site stories.

Reference Frequently asked questions about the Lake District World Heritage Site status bid. (

World Heritage knowledge (

Photography Jason Chambers Lake District Photographer - JC Photography (