Friday 15 July 2016

How the Lake District National Park is getting bigger from next month!

Back in June I posted an article about the boundaries of Lake District, highlighting the difference between the Lake District National Park, and the county of Cumbria. You may recall how the Lake District falls within the latter county, but covers a smaller area.  You may also remember that Cumbria contains part of the another National Park, that is, the Yorkshire Dales, in addition to the whole of the Lake District.  

I included this Google Street View screenshot of the southern end  of the Howgill Fells as seen from the M6. These hills fall within the boundaries of both Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, but not the Lake District itself.

The southern Howgill Fells, Cumbria as seen from the M6.
From the 1st of August 2016, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks are extending their boundaries! The Lake District will increase it's size by an extra 27 square miles, and the Yorkshire Dales by an extra 161 respectively.  A large part of the extension of both National Parks will occur on either side of the M6 corridor around the northern end of the Howgill Fells and beyond.  This will mean the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales will come within touching distance of one another at this location.  

The M6 as it passes between Greyrigg Pike (left) and Blease Fell in the northern Howgill Fells (right).  As from 1st August next month this stretch of motorway will separate the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks respectively.  At present this countryside does not have National Park status with all the protection and benefits that this provides. 
In addition to the east boundary extension between Birkbeck Fells Common and Whinfell Common (including the Greyrigg Pike area shown above), the Lake District National Park will also gain extra land south of Kendal.  This will stretch from Heslington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, and includes Sizergh Castle, Brigsteer, and part of the Lyth Valley.  (You can see detailed maps of the east extension area and south extension area on the Lake District National Park website by clicking these links respectively).

Cairn on Heslington Barrows.  This are is soon to become part of the Lake District National Park (Copyright: Karl & Ali)
So what does all this mean to people like us who love the Lake District and it's countryside?  Well, the Lake District National Park authority will now manage these new areas along with their existing land.  The new areas will consequently benefit from the extra care and protection that National Park status provides. In addition to this, the Lake District National Park Authority are looking at ways to open up more of the countryside in the new areas to the public. As it states on their website

"We are excited about being granted the responsibility to look after these special landscapes and explore opportunities to improve access to enable people to enjoy the beauty of these spectacular places." (Lake District National Park authority website)

Hopefully this means that, in time, we may come to see new footpaths, bridleways and cycle tracks, in addition to improvements and extensions to existing ones.  

So it sounds like good news for lovers of the Lake District all round!

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