THE head of the authority responsible for the Lake District has become the focus of angry protests from residents and campaigners over accusations that he is helping turn the World Heritage site into a “theme park”. Our readers had their say on the News & Star website and Facebook page.

The standard should be that all users are welcome but that none should damage the area for any users in the future. You can camp, ride climb, boat, walk, hold religious meetings, whatever but after you have gone home, the area should be as it was before you came.

There are already fun activities, in areas away from public use. Tree walks, zip wires, and more. To demand that popular areas should be dominated by structures and noise for commercial profit making activities is unreasonable.


“We need to be able to sell the national park to everybody in Britain, all society, and it’s important that it doesn’t just become exclusive to one single use group.”

If by “one single use group” you mean the people strong and hardy enough to be able to handle the terrain, then sure. However, there’s more in the Lake District to appeal to other demographics. For example, you can get around Keswick good enough to experience all it has to offer if you’re in a wheelchair. In fact, I’m pretty sure being in a wheelchair, or being a bit frail, won’t stop you from climbing a fell.

As for the argument that “oh the path’s a bunch of stones anyway, what’s the harm in putting tarmac on it?”, which do you think would look better: tarmac or stones? In fact, the stones actually enhance the historical side of things, as you can point to the path and go “did you know that this path used to be an old railroad?” and is much better than saying “oh yeah we covered a railroad in Tarmac”.

The Lake District is supposed to be wilderness, not a Tesco car park.


To answer your question, concrete looks better. Stone and dirt paths which have a tendency to become muddy or flooded encourage walkers to skirt round the edges where it’s not as boggy/muddy. Doesn’t take long for that more traditional path to triple in width and the grass around it to get wrecked. Whereas concrete doesn’t get that problem. Compare the Coast to Coast, which is much more heavily traversed, to any relatively well used dirt path after it’s been raining. And remember we’re Cumbrian, and get plenty of rain.


If they introduce too many of these man made adventure themes it will kill the goose that has the golden egg. Its attraction has always been its serenity and beauty as a panacea to modern hectic life! There is always Alton Towers for those who want something extreme. Peaceful green space is what is needed for people’s fitness and mental health. Please don’t spoil it.

Heather Thompson

In most countries, the best way to get a real appreciation of it, is to visit the out of the way hidden areas that are not accessible by car. However not everyone is either fit enough or has the inclination to don the hiking boots and walk. Some need to have assistance and some need a means of mobility. Walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs, motor cycles, 4WD vehicles all have some ability to get to most of these areas.

Now, I can imagine the purists that have had the Lake District fells to themselves for decades cringing into their muesli, however times and people’s expectations are changing.

For Cumbria to survive and not become a playground for the few, we need visitors, lots of visitors, spending lots of money in our towns, cities and countryside. Therefore we need to offer 21st century experiences.

Of course all areas of the fells will never be 100% visitor inclusive, and in some cases guides and some form of permitting maybe needed, but life moves forward, so should we.