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Industrialisation and increasing wealth amongst the general population after the war, led to a new concept in Britain, that of leisure time. This, combined with the opening up of the lakes as the road infrastructure improved and car ownership increased, led to a massive boom in tourism. This increase in tourism has provided a welcome income boost to communities within the Lakes but has also brought about changes.

Explore the audio links below to hear how the 'opening up of the lakes' has influenced the the landscape, local communities and wildlife there.

Each year millions of tourist visit Cumbria. It brings welcome opportunities, employment and resources, but undeniably has shaped the landscape, wildlife and local communities. Listen to Donald Angus as he talks about how this has influence the shape of farming today

Climbing Scafell 1943

John Nettleton is a former director of Brockhole Outdoor Centre, fell runner, author on Lake District subjects and activity holiday leader. John has seen first-hand the increase in leisure and tourism in the Lakes since the war. Listen to John’s memories of one of his first experiences of the Lake District fells - climbing Scafell Pike in 1943.

Cycling to Helvellyn

Before car ownership increased, the pedal bike was often used to get around the fells. John Richardson remembers cycling to Helvellyn from Thirlmere as a young man. He also has memories of how the footpaths changed as footfall increased on the fells.

Playground Of The Rich

“Nothing changes the fells apart from the use of them. They're there, they don't change. It’s what people do to them that changes them.” Listen to Jenny Massie as she reflects on the changing face of the fells

Rock Climbing

Great Langdale is one of the most famous locations in Britain for rock climbing. Climbers have been enjoying the challenge of its steep crags and routes, for over a century.

Scree Running

An increasing network of path and walks has grown up since the war, together with the increase in walkers and runners in the fells. John Nettleton recalls the time when Scree running was still possible in many places in the fells.

The Birth of Long Distance Fell Racing

The Lake District Mountain Trial started up in 1952 and was the first major orienteering-style long distance fell event in Cumbria. John Nettleton remembers it became the catalyst over the years for the wide range of events which are held across Cumbria each year.

The Climbing Botanist

Cumbrian Jennie Massie began climbing at the age of 10. Jennie has memories of climbing Pavey Ark - and as a keen botanist, keeping an eye out for flora among the crags. These high and remote crags can be refuges for plants, such as sedum and other saxifrage species

The Golden Eagle 1969

The increase in tourism has provided a welcome income boost to communities within the Lakes but has had an impact on the landscape, and wildlife that surrounds it. Listen to Geoff Horne talking about what happened in 1969, when the first golden eagle egg was recorded in England for over 170s years.

The Invasion

Joss Naylor has spent hours in the fells, as a farmer and fell runner. Listen to his memory of how the number of the visitor to Cumbria’s fells increased after the war.

The motorway

The opening up of the lakes and fells as the road infrastructure improved in the period after the war, led to a massive boom in tourism. John Callion feels the opening of the motorway has brought enormous numbers of people to the Lakes.

Tourism Changes

By far the greatest contributors to the economy of the Langdale today are the people who come to stay in the holiday chalets, hotels or campsites to walk or climb among the fells. Hugh Parker remembers the changes in the number of visitors to Great Langdale since the war