At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of visionary conservationists recognised that the fragile beauty of the spectacular Lake District landscape, which had been the inspiration for poets and artists down the centuries, was under threat from the conflict between ‘use and delight’.

Out of this concern, at a rally in Fitz Park, Keswick on June 17th 1934, Friends of the Lake District was born. From lobbying to influence the creation of the Lake District as a National Park - a campaign which came to fruition in 1951 - to fighting many and major threats to the magnificence of these cherished landscapes, the charity has been the backbone of the protection of the Lake District and will continue to stand up for the beauty, tranquillity and freedom of the fells.

Commissioned in 2019 to recognise the 85th anniversary of Friends of the Lake District, “In Our Hands” is a bewitching blend of poetry and superlative visual imagery which celebrates the vital connections between people and place; looks to the future for our children and recognises that Friends of the Lake District will always have, on behalf of this much-loved landscape, “the dedication to continue to ask, are we on the right road?”


Our 85th anniversary poem:



This is a place for the senses,
here, under a shared and wild sky
in a spread of hills and light
layered with the conversations
of wind and birds and water’s fall. 

This is a place for the senses:
land beneath your feet,
moss and bog and rock,
fresh fell-air, the weather in your face.

Let me take you on a journey:
through a raven’s eyes, look on a world
where hills are solid waves
and lakes spread, ink-dark
mirrors to the clouds. 

Come in close: the first leaf of spring,
a butterfly, or a bee
busy among meadow flowers
that turn to face the sun.

Moments of wonder:
lichen dressing oaks in grey,
dawn mist carpeting a wood,
an arc of colour after rain.

In fells and valleys
shaped by ice, water, time,
our own centuries are counted
in the endless march of hand-made walls,
in coppiced woods and hefted flocks,
in the quickening of hearts
and the naming of things:
mere, ghyll, pike, force,
crag, thwaite, tarn.

Textured land, common land,
held by years of care and toil,
a history of standing up, mountain-strong,
for farms of the fells, tarns of the fells, flora of the fells,
and dedication, to continue to ask:
Are we on the right road?

In this fragile place,
a woodland or a lake
knows nothing of uncertainty,
of shifting climate, or politics, or money;
nor does it know the certainty of love,
how the will to protect what matters
can outlast a raging storm.

This is a place of land and lives interwoven,
memory and hope, light and shade.
It feels timeless but time ticks on,
and the future’s in our hands.

This is a place for imagining,
for treading softly,
for shaping and sharing
what happens next.


Written by Harriet Fraser

Film Produced and Directed by Terry Abraham – Outdoor Filmmaker and Photographer

Additional cinematography was provided by University of Cumbria students Paul Bacon and Nathan Buckley who were being mentored by Terry for his Life of a Mountain: Helvellyn film which will premiere in May and in which, “In Our Hands” will also feature.