19th June 2019

Friends of the Lake District has submitted a formal request to extend the southern boundary of the Lake District National Park to Natural England (NE) for its consideration; Natural England is the government agency with the statutory powers to create a National Park or vary its boundary.

The extension proposed would incorporate an area of outstanding landscape in the south of Cumbria, its land and its estuaries, increasing the size of the Lake District by 155 km2 increasing its overall area by approximately 6%.  

It incorporates the area between Silecroft and Grange-over-Sands, the Millom Without, Furness and Cartmel peninsulas and the majestic estuaries of the Duddon, Leven and Kent rivers, all three of which rise in and traverse the Lake District.

The Preface in our Executive Summary sets out the motivation for submitting this proposal and just why we think that this area should be considered for re-designation by Natural England and given National Park status.

Executive Summary Preface

­The land and estuaries of South Cumbria are stunning landscapes with high quality recreational opportunities that are treasured and valued by local people and visitors alike. This land of the Millom, Furness and Cartmel peninsulas is intersected by the incredible estuaries of the Duddon, Leven and Kent rivers, all three of which rise in and traverse the Lake District.

This landscape is so closely related to the geology, geomorphology, cultural history and wildlife of the adjacent Lake District National Park that an increasing number of local residents have questioned why this area was not included in the originally designated National Park. Discussions with Friends of the Lake District led to an Area of Search being developed, and soundings have been taken over the last year confirming a groundswell of opinion that statutory designation should be sought to provide the protection that the landscape deserves.

Friends of the Lake District is aware that this application includes land which was originally recommended for inclusion in the Lake District National Park in the Report of the National Parks Committee in 1947, (the Hobhouse Report), as being of the quality affording National Park status, and also covers land formerly designated in 1993 as part of the Lake District Environmentally Sensitive Area.

­This led us to consider that the current boundary of the Lake District National Park between Grange-over-Sands and the Irish Sea coast at Silecroft should be reviewed. We commenced a research project to assess whether or not the quality of the landscape as it is now warrants statutory designation under Section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

A team of Dr Jan Darrall and Frank Lee carried out background research into the history of this landscape and the processes that should establish a way forward. Alison Farmer, of Alison Farmer Associates (a landscape architect with specialist expertise in landscape evaluation for designation), was then appointed to carry out a detailed assessment of the landscape and to make any recommendations, if identified, for the amendment of the southern boundary to submit to Natural England. ­ This Project has also been greatly assisted by the expert knowledge of Ian Brodie, a former Director of Friends of the Lake District.

This team, all with previous experience of National Park boundary revisions, have with the full support of Friends of the Lake District and the local parish councils, brought this Report forward supporting their conviction that a strong and urgent case can be made for a further boundary extension to the Lake District National Park. We strongly commend active consideration by Natural England of this work in order to secure necessary amendments to the boundary of the Lake District National Park.