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Organising outdoor events in the Lake District

Mountain biking in Great Langdale, Lake District
Mountain biking in Great Langdale | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

Do you run outdoor activities on land the National Trust cares for in the Lake District? Whether you organise group climbing sessions or long-distance runs, we want to work with you. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can work together in the Lakes.

There are hundreds of enthusiastic active outdoors providers working across the Lake District, leading activities where people can get active in this beautiful part of the world. From open-water swimming to long-distance runs, many of these activities will happen on land the National Trust looks after in the Lakes.

Looking after the landscape

The National Trust looks after a large amount of land in the Lake District, which makes up nearly a quarter of the Lake District National Park. Most of the central fell area and larger valley heads are owned or held on lease by the National Trust. This vast area includes 91 farms and 24 lakes and tarns. This land totals 123,500 acres and makes up about a quarter of the National Trust’s entire holding.

As well as being a part of a World Heritage Site, much of the land we look after in the Lake District has a special protected status. This means that there are some important aspects of caring for the Lakes that we need to consider when discussing outdoor activities and events on National Trust land with you. Because of this, we might need to make an assessment based on the impact of your activity.

If you’re planning an outdoor event which crosses National Trust land, you’ll need to submit an Event Information Form as well as seek individual permissions from each landowner whose land your event crosses. It is also important to consider the potential impact on other visitors, local communities, and the natural environment.

Please read the guidance and information below before submitting your form. You’ll find information on gaining landowner permission, maps to help you plan your events, and top tips to help guide you.

A close up of someone doing crawl in a lake with vegetation behind them
Open-water swimming in Lake Windermere, Fell Foot, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/John Millar

What kind of outdoor activities are supported in the Lake District?

Our Responsible Experience Provider Scheme (REPS) in the Lake District covers sports and outdoor activities that are organised by a professional provider. The scheme helps us to balance the needs of caring for the environment, while allowing access and letting people enjoy the outdoors. We allow activities including:

  • Triathlons
  • Rock climbing
  • Gorge walking
  • Trail running
  • Orienteering
  • Canoeing
  • Mountaineering
  • And many others

We would not allow activities however that would have a damaging impact on land cared for by the National Trust in the Lakes. This includes:

  • Motorbike riding (away from Rights of Way)
  • Paintballing
  • Obstacle racing
  • Powerboating
A man reaches up over a rounded rock, while rock climbing at Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire
Rock climbing is just one of the outdoor activities you can do in the Lake District | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Tips for a successful event

We suggest considering the following guidelines when preparing your event proposal:

  • Use the map to see if your event will take place on National Trust Land and which portfolio it falls into here.

  • Stay on public rights of way during nesting season (1 Mar to 31 July) and avoid breeding and hibernation sites

  • Avoid areas that may impact archaeological features

  • Avoid sensitive habitats such as blanket bogs and flushes, and moorland restoration areas

  • Avoid busy visitor routes or hemmed in footpaths e.g. Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge along the River Brathay and the Grasmere footpath

  • Keep dogs on short leads at all times

  • Agree parking arrangements to ensure event parking will not disrupt residents, visitors, and obstruct essential gateways. Consider the use of public transport to alleviate congestion

  • Place marshals at key gateways to ensure gates are closed and latches replaced

  • Be aware of the impact on the environment

Environmental impact and biosecurity risk

It’s important that your event has considered the impact on the environment and biosecurity implications (e.g. cross contamination of water courses with invasive species and blue green algae)

If you have your own environmental impact assessment, please feel free to submit this with your event information. Below are some examples you can use to help guide you through this process:

Environmental Impact Assessment

Biosecurity risk form

If an event passes through a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), we may need to apply for consent by Natural England. This particularly applies to events which require structures where the ground may need breaking. We will contact you directly if this is required.

Natural England aim to process consent applications within 28 days, but they may take up to four months. Natural England do offer a Fast Track service for an additional charge.

We strongly advise that you wait for the outcome of the application before advertising or selling tickets to your event. Please download the Natural England Guidance for SSSI Consent guidance for more information.

Useful links:

Submitting your event information

We encourage organisers to contact us as early as possible and before the event tickets go on sale.

Please use the link below to fill out the Event Details Form and attach a high-quality (minimum 50k scale Ordnance Survey) map showing the route and markers, out of bounds areas, congregational areas, marshal locations, hydration points, temporary structures, and a key.

We recommend using the Ordnance Survey mapping website here: OS Maps website

If you wish to locate your event HQ on National Trust land, please email us to arrange further discussions and we will send you our current fees, terms and conditions. We will review your event information and contact you within 28 days to inform you of the outcome.

Supporting our work in the Lake District

For every event which crosses our land we incur a cost in time, resources and impact on land and pathways. Whilst we don’t charge a fee to process each event, we suggest a donation of 4% of each participant's entry fee after the event. This donation will help to maintain and repair the land for future events and to fund our conservation work.

Ghyll scrambling codes of conduct

We ask providers running activities in Esk Ghyll, Stonecroft Ghyll and Stickle Ghyll to adopt voluntary codes of conduct. These downloads have been created in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority, Institute for Outdoor Learning and the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres and set out why these beautiful but fragile places need protecting, and how you can help us care for them.

Contact details for enquiries:

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