UPDATE 31st JANUARY 2024: Friends of the Lake District has submitted a response to the revised proposal, which you can download here. 

Landscape charity Friends of the Lake District today announced that it will continue to oppose plans for a major visitor attraction at Elterwater Quarry, despite the changes the developer has made to the proposal. Plans for the ‘cavern explorer’ rope course and zip wires were re-submitted immediately before Christmas, after the initial proposal was rejected by the planning committee.

Quarry owners Burlington Slate Ltd are working with Zip World, who operate 23 zipwire courses across the UK, to develop the adventure attraction. There has been widespread opposition to the plan, including from ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), who are concerned that the proposal will damage aspects of the Lake District which underpin its status as a World Heritage Site. They’ve previously said the development is “…of a type that would transform the quarry or part of it into a theme park and would trivialise the experience of an important aspect of the Lake District’s heritage”.

Will you join us in standing up for Elterwater again?

We would urge anyone who has an interest in the Elterwater / Langdale area to take look at the plans and make their own views known. We have made a written response and you can too. Click here to find out how>

90,000 people signed a petition against the pre-application proposal, which also included a ‘cavern coaster’. The proposal was refused by the planning committee largely due to the inadequacy of the travel plan (which describes how visitors are intended to get to the attraction). Friends of the Lake District’s position is that there is no justification for the adventure attraction, and that the new version of the proposal will still result in significant extra traffic through the already highly congested village of Elterwater.

The charity’s CEO Michael Hill said:

“Langdale is already one of England’s most iconic valleys, offering adventurous natural experiences and home to thriving businesses. There’s no evidence that Langdale will be enhanced by a major new attraction. The revised travel plan is entirely unrealistic. How many people are going to park 6 miles away, then get a mixture of boats, buses, and bikes to Elterwater? Everyone will end up driving there, adding even more congestion to the narrow roads in this remote community, harming tranquillity, and increasing carbon emissions. This is the wrong attraction, at the wrong time, in the wrong place”.

With another zipwire proposal also re-emerging at Honister slate mine, these applications raise further questions about what sort of visitor attractions are appropriate for the Lake District. Friends of the Lake District says many of its members feel that ‘theme park’ type plans are exploiting the area, rather than enhancing it or complementing its special qualities.

It’s thought that the revised Elterwater application will be considered at planning committee in March at the earliest. Friends of the Lake District says there’s growing local anger at the proposal and they’re urging people to submit their own response as soon as possible, using a special web page the charity has created. They’re also planning an event in the area ahead of the committee meeting.

Banner image: Langdale Pikes from Elterwater by John Hitchings