21 Jul 2017
Posted By: Caroline Sandes
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ICOMOS-UK is delighted that the English Lake District has been inscribed as a World Heritage cultural landscape at the recent UNESCO 2017 World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland.

This comes thirty years after the first nomination bid was made and, on the way, the Lake District has been instrumental in bringing forward the category of World Heritage cultural landscapes.

The Lake District has been inscribed for the way its harmonious landscape:

  • Reflects the evolution of a distinctive agro-pastoral system over the past thousand years;
  • Was greatly valued from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque and later Romantic movements;
  • Has been celebrated in influential paintings, drawings and words;
  • Inspired the beginnings of the global conservation movement.

The first nomination was deferred in 1987 as was a second in 1990 when the Committee decided that it did not have the tools to adequately assess cultural landscapes and requested that these be developed. The category of cultural landscape was subsequently adopted by the Committee in 1992. Approximately ten years later work began on a third successful nomination that encompasses the whole of the Lake Distract National Park.

In the intervening period, a huge amount of work has been undertaken, with advice from ICOMOS-UK, to explore in detail the precise aspects of the landscape that define its OUV. These have been assembled in an impressive nomination file, commended by the Committee, which maps and describes both individual valleys and the over-arching characteristics of the whole area.

At the same time a strong partnership has been put together of some 18 stakeholder organisations who support an over-arching Partnership Management Plan for the property that focuses on sustaining not only its beauty, harmony and associations but also the farming traditions that continue to shape its landscape.

Photo: Val Corbett, 2015

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