“It’s my soul’s food …”

Larch in fresh leaf at the beginning of spring, Haweswater

“It is my soul’s food, my mental calm and my physical energy. I need access to the outdoors, fresh air away from the sound of cars, smell of exhaust and sight of tarmac at least once a week.”

This is one of the views shared through the Sense of Here questionnaire. Why does green space matter to you? And what are you concerned about? And if you have a connection to the Lake District, what is it that you value? 

What matters about green and open spaces? A word cloud of responses

We’ve only recently launched the questionnaire and wanted to share some of the contributions: we’re getting a host of really interesting answers coming in. We’ve shared a few below and you can see a wider range of answers by visiting the map and clicking on the blue dots (and scroll around the world – not all the dots are in the UK). 

Sense of Here map with blue dots showing questions answered.

Some of the responses may resonate with what you think and feel, others may not. There’s a range, from romantic and celebratory reflections on valued experiences and places to concerned and even angry feelings about a perceived neglect of caring for what’s really precious. To explore more, take a browse around the map, and to add your own viewpoints and memories, it’s simple to fill in the questionnaire here


“It makes me feel wild and centered. The loss of biodiversity is a concern. Climate change will bring troubling times.”  

“It inspires my work and my leisure time and it is essential for the economic well being and emotional well being of our area … The community is located between the mountains and the sea and the tides and weather create natural rhythm in local life.”  

“It makes me feel a sense of me. Belonging. Assured. Challenged. Calm. Excited. At home.”

“I do have many concerns for the National Park. Over use and mis-use. Not particularly an issue about more people being here. That is unfair not to share this beautiful place. But it’s how people use the national park that worries me. More ill-prepared, misinformed, unguided hikers and tourists on the fells, putting themselves in dangers way. The wearing down of paths and increased litter. Modifying areas to accommodate more people. Danger to people on the roads biking. There def needs to be a campaign of awareness for safety and respect and understanding to this landscape.” 

“A fear about the future? That the communities that farm and manage living working landscapes will be eroded and farms will become larger so losing the intricacies of management by many smaller scale farmers.”

“I worry about the need for pre set activities and the disconnect between people and the landscape.” 

A snapshot of responses: hopes for the future

My concerns? Global threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Every long haul flight to visit this beautiful place creates a massive carbon footprint that will damage it, us and everywhere else. Local threats of being loved to death or trending even further into theme park mode. Loss of community and cohesion as external influences leave local people and visitors alike powerless in key decisions.

“My hopes for open spaces and national parks? That they are well managed, remain publicly accessible. That conservation is a priority, but that local initiatives are supported to create working and living opportunities for local communities.”

“I remember being on Scarth Gap in 70mph winds, crawling to avoid being knocked over, and then having to lie spread eagle to stop myself being rolled away. Whenever the wind lowered briefly, I crawled a bit further. It was thrilling! I was staying at Black Sail that night, which was almost empty, and the wind sounded like a train going past the hostel all night.”

“When totally alone either wild swimming, cycling or running I have moments of pure bliss, of feeling totally connected to nature and that I need nothing else in life.”

The map that’s being populated with people’s views and reflections aks questions about your local space, wherever you are in the world, and also asks about the Lake District. Take a visit to the map and let us know what you think! There’s more about the process, and what will happen with the information that is shared, here.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: