We organised a rally to protest against plans to develop a visitor attraction in a historic quarry in the Langdale Valley on Wednesday 27 March. Speakers addressed the crowd of around 100 people, who had gathered to express their opposition to the scheme at Elterwater Quarry, which would include a zip wire and ropes course.  Their concerns centred around an attraction of this type being situated inside a National Park and World Heritage Site, and the impact of additional traffic on the small rural community in the Langdale valley.

Among the guest speakers was Bill Birkett, the writer, photographer, rock climber, and mountaineer, who grew up in Langdale and whose father was a slate quarryman. Birkett said:  “This development doesn’t do anything for the local community and is totally inappropriate. It demeans the history of this area and the quarrymen who worked there. I’m a local and the associated traffic is also a huge problem. Commercial developments like this are not what we need. Zip wires are fine for Alton Towers but not for here.”

The initial scheme was refused permission on the inadequacy of the travel plan, which describes how visitors are intended to get to the attraction. Quarry owners Burlington Slate Ltd and Zip World submitted the application with an amended travel plan, but Friends of the Lake District believe it will still cause significant additional traffic in Elterwater.

Friends of the Lake District CEO, Michael Hill said:  “The rally was an important opportunity for people who care about the tranquillity of this beautiful part of the Lake District to make their voices heard. It was great to see around 100 people brave the rainy conditions, and important that BBC News and ITV News sent camera crews to cover the event too.”

The plans have been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority and will be examined by their planning committee shortly – date to be confirmed. As well as the impact of yet more traffic and parked cars on sustainability, the landscape, and the tranquillity and enjoyment of the area,

Friends of the Lake District shares concerns expressed by ICOMOS, the official advisor on the World Heritage Site designation. ICOMOS has asked for the planning approval process for this attraction and similar proposals to be suspended, until a strategy is in place to determine what tourism uses are compatible with the area’s special attributes.

Read more about Elterwater Quarry and how to make your views known.