We will be celebrating the extension to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national park boundaries by watching the first dawn over the newly extended Lake District National Park on August 1, on Scout Scar near Kendal.


Our campaigning work has been instrumental in seeing the park extensions agreed and in promoting the importance of national park status for our most treasured landscapes.


Formed in 1934, we campaigned for the creation of a national park to protect the Lake District landscape for future generations. Its efforts were rewarded in 1951 when the formation of the Lake District National Park, followed by the creation of all of the UK’s national parks.


The decision to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks follows a long and determined campaign where we have remained unwavering in our efforts to enhance and protect our finest landscapes. 


We lobby the Sandford Committee to try to secure boundary changes at the time of local government reorganisation. In 1975, we lobby for Mallerstang, the northern Howgills and the Borrowdale fells to be protected.



We begin work with the Countryside Commission on reviewing the boundaries. We raise concerns about the risk to the landscape between the two parks, particularly Borrowdale and Bretherdale, which had survived the threat of damming by the water authority in the 1970s.


2000 - 2005

We commission a report to research the ‘National Park Boundary Review Project’. The report, ‘Cumbria’s Forgotten Landscapes’ was published in 2005; the report which persuaded Natural England to review the national park boundaries.



We identify where the boundaries need to expand a little further for the Orton fells and Yorkshire Dales western areas. We begin work preparing a professional case for the public inquiry and launch a fundraising drive to help campaign for the extension of the national parks. We make the case to the Government to ensure that the national park extensions happen and don't get shelved for political or short term budgetary reasons.



A Public Inquiry is held, lasting two weeks. We coordinate the ‘Key Supporters Group’, which included parish and town councils, local businesses, farmers and landowners, conservation and recreational organisations and residents from the proposed extension areas.


October 2015

The Government confirms the decision to extend both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks to take effect from 1 August 2016. 


Douglas Chalmers, chief executive of Friends of the Lake District,


Opportunities like these are comparatively rare. This decision brings huge potential to generate and sustain additional economic, environmental and community benefits in the area, and it's important that everyone works together to ensure that these opportunities are taken. “Two generations have grown up unable to say that they witnessed the sun rising over a National Park in Cumbria for the first time. Surely that’s worth getting out of bed for?


You're invited to join us to see in the dawn on August 1st. If that’s a little early for you, we have organised a public walk to explore the new extensions at 10am on Wednesday 3rd August.


Full details for both events are here, booking is required: https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/Pages/Events/