Update 22 June 2022

We asked for your views on an ‘adventure tourism experience’ at Elterwater Quarry. This has been proposed by quarry operators Burlington Stone in partnership with Zip World.

Many of you have since been in touch (thank you!), and without exception have expressed deep concern about the plans, which involve a zip wire, ropes courses, an ‘alpine coaster toboggan-style ride and extensive car-parking. Over 30,000 people have also signed an online petition against the proposal. The main concerns raised to us are the traffic and the inappropriateness of this type of attraction in such a rural location near a small village in the Langdale valley, in the heart of the Lake District. Impacts on local character, tranquillity views from surrounding fells, biodiversity and public rights of way have also been highlighted. This type of proposal further adds to concern that our National Park remains very much at risk of becoming a theme park. Find out more, including how you can have your say here.

No application has yet been submitted, but you can make your views known by:

• Sharing and replying to our Facebook and Twitter posts about the plans @FriendsofLakes https://twitter.com/FriendsofLakes https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheLakeDistrict
Signing the petition
• Writing to Burlington Stone themselves to let them know your views - https://elterwaterquarry.co.uk/contact/
• If you live locally, writing to Lakes Parish Council, your local Councillor and/or your local MP to let them know your views
• Letting us know your views if you have not done so already, as this will help to inform our response when a formal consultation takes place, email us: [email protected] 

You can help our specialist staff continue to challenge unsuitable developments like Elterwater Quarry by donating to our Planning for the Future Appeal.

The main concerns among those against the plans are the traffic and the inappropriateness of a theme-park type attraction in such a rural location near a small village in the Langdale valley, in the heart of the Lake District.

Elterwater is popular as a location to visit in its own right and as a starting point for walks, so the village itself and the narrow, winding local lanes already suffer the impacts of high levels of traffic and parking problems, including on the surrounding Common Land (Common Land is one of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value for which the Lake District was designated a World Heritage Site). While removing the currently relatively low levels of quarry traffic from the roads, this proposal would see a huge rise in private cars and coaches passing through the village to access the site. Local businesses in the valley already have to bring in staff from distant towns, due to the lack of a more local workforce, so this would add further to the traffic generated by the development.

Although the site itself is a brownfield site - a former quarry - there will be an impact on the landscape character and tranquillity of the area as a result of traffic increases and the nature and level of the activity. There will be an impact on views of the valley from surrounding fells (including open access land) and on the public right of way that currently runs through the quarry itself.

While people have been walking on the path through the quarry for many years, slate is nevertheless a natural feature of the landscape and the quarrying of it a centuries-old industry that has shaped the landscape and its communities. Walking through a modern visitor attraction with rides, assault courses, car parks and throngs of people would be a totally different experience and not one that people are usually looking for when they visit Langdale or any part of the National Park. Nor is it an appropriate way of giving an understanding of the hard work and riving hands of Lakeland’s quarrymen or their contribution to and connection with the landscape and local vernacular.

The scaling-back of quarrying operations in the Lake District is in line with the conditions made by ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) and UNESCO when the National Park was designated a World Heritage Site in 2017. However, planning consents given for Elterwater quarry as recently as 2021 were subject to a restoration condition, meaning that the operator was expected to carry out a restoration scheme to enhance the local landscape and wildlife habitats once quarrying at the site had ceased.  The restored site should be the baseline against which the proposal and its impacts are assessed.

The site is also adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a County Wildlife Site and close to ancient woodland, so we are also concerned about impacts on biodiversity and the loss of opportunities to enhance it.

We continue to ensure that the Lake District is protected from developments that would damage its fabric, its character and its integrity. That it is loved but not exploited. That we and those who follow us can continue to enjoy it and can better understand it. This must surely be possible without also sacrificing it to commercialism. After all, it’s the landscape, in all its glory that’s the real attraction, isn’t it?

If you can, please help us continue to protect the Lake District from harmful developments. Donate to our Planning for the Future Appeal today.

30 March 2022

Plans are emerging for the significant redevelopment of Elterwater Quarry. Burlington Stone are proposing to develop an adventure tourism experience and interpretation facility at Elterwater Quarry.

We are glad to have been identified by Burlington Stone Ltd. as a specific consultee in relation to these proposals as this will help us to ensure that the landscape and natural environment and the views of our members and supporters are taken into account as the project moves forward. We have already had an informal discussion on-site with Burlington and have highlighted some initial thoughts and potential areas of concern to them, including traffic generation and management, how biodiversity and rights of way might be incorporated and of course, how the proposal will fit within the landscape.

We can expect a planning application in the coming months.

Read more about what the proposal might involve on www.elterwaterquarry.co.uk – we would be interested to hear your thoughts, email: [email protected]


Image credit: Burlington Stone.