Our principles for looking after the Lakes

We have been looking after special places in the Lake District on behalf of the nation for the past 120 years. It’s our birthplace, our spiritual home, somewhere we care deeply about. At the heart of our work will always be our commitment to our conservation purpose; recognizing and protecting the special places and ways of working that define the Lake District. We've developed these principles to guide the work that we do to look after this landscape as society's needs change around it.

Walkers on a bridge in Watendlath

Protecting the natural and cultural fabric of the Lakes 

This is our first responsibility, because it’s the combined heritage of people, landform, soils, water, and wildlife that underpins everything that is important and loved about the Lakes.

Galloway cows in the woods in Ennerdale

Working with nature 

This is about pausing to observe, understand, and respond to the natural forces and inclinations of the places we look after. In a landscape with as much natural force as the Lake District has, we think there are many more times and more places where we can let nature have more of a hand in things.

Family canoeing on Windermere

Adapting to the changing needs of society 

We think that as time goes on the Lakes will become even more important to people both locally and nationally. And for a wider range of reasons - from food, to health and flood prevention, and more. We think it’s right to understand, adapt to, and deliver for those needs.

Cairn on Castle Crag overlooking Upper Borrowdale, Cumbria.

Being guided by the lie of the land 

The Lake District isn’t just one landscape. The spirit of one valley might be quiet and remote, another vibrant and full of day-trippers; some places are open and windswept, others are closely wooded. We think it’s vital to retain and build upon this distinctiveness.

Visitors to the Lake District enjoying woodland activities at Footprint

Playing our part in the Lake District community 

People and communities are part of the living fabric of the Lake District. And we need local skills and knowledge to make our work here come to life. So we’ll make sure our work continues to create benefits for the communities here, and we’ll look for ways to link our aims to the creation of new opportunities for local livelihoods and local businesses.

Mike Innerdale with farmer Will Benson and family

Finding shared purpose and working with others 

Our aim is clear; to protect and adapt the Lake District for the good of the whole of society, now and in the future. We look after and give access to breathtaking places, and our people are passionate and able. But we don’t pretend to have all the answers, or the means -or desire- to work alone.

Walkers at Tarn Hows

Taking the long view 

The Lake District is an evolving masterpiece. Helping shape that evolution might occasionally mean being bold, but it doesn’t involve a revolution. Few things have to happen overnight. We’ve been here for over a hundred years, and we’re here to stay. So we’ll work with people and do things when the time is right, measured at a pace to fit the circumstances.