The proposed extension area shares much of the geology, geomorphology, cultural history and wildlife of the adjacent Lake District.
Following a request from a group of parish councils, landscape charity Friends of the Lake District spent a year carrying out research to inform a proposal to extend the southern boundary of the Lake District National Park and submitted a formal request to Natural England (NE) in June of this year.
In conjunction with this, the Southern Boundary Partnership (SBP) – a community led group of Parish Councillors’ – organised a series of drop in events called ‘Community Conversations’. They provided residents across South Cumbria and Cartmel Peninsula with the opportunity to discover more about the proposal and to have their questions answered.
Nearly 300 residents attended events at Thwaites, Grange over Sands, Lowick, Broughton and Ulverston where Friends of the Lake District and the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) were also in attendance to provide information on the proposal for a southern boundary extension.
Mapping illustrating the proposed route of the new southern boundary dominated much of the conversation and prompted many of the questions at the community events.
The proposed extension incorporates an area of outstanding landscape in the south of Cumbria, including 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.
The route of the new boundary detailed in the proposal has been generated by research undertaken by Friends of the Lake District to assess ‘landscape quality’. This is aligned with the criteria employed by Natural England to inform – following extensive consultation – its ultimate decision on whether a landscape is of the quality and character to afford national park status.
“Our research and submission has been based on the landscape quality,” said Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive, Friends of the Lake District. “Although we believe that these amazing landscapes should be incorporated into the park, I have to stress that a large part of our research is independent and all of it is to the highest standard.”
The final decision for any extension to the southern boundary of the Lake District will rest with Natural England and the Secretary of State for the Environment. Natural England has now responded to the proposal in a letter to Friends of the Lake District. It has indicated that it is currently aware of 18 requests for AONB or National Park designations or variations.
You can view further details and mapping of the proposed extension area on Friends of the Lake District’s website: friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/southern-boundary-extension