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Adventure tourism proposal halted for Elterwater Quarry


 After rejection, a unique adventure tourism plan for an English quarry has been left in limbo.   

An adventure tourism concept to revitalise an English quarry with zip lines was left in limbo after being refused at a local council meeting. 

It comes after Burlington Stone, which runs the Elterwater Quarry, tried to get approval for the project. According to the project’s website, it would be a “heritage experience” to explore the history of Elterwater quarry and slate production in the area.  

The company proposed to change some of the quarry so tourists could explore previously unseen but mined caverns via zip lines. While the slate quarry has a licence to operate until 2042, the company has decided to focus its extraction on fewer quarries. 

With this in mind, the company partnered with Zip World to create a new tourism attraction to increase tourism in the area.  

“There will also be opportunities for visitors to learn about the history of Elterwater Quarry and the slate industry in general through slate-working demonstrations and outdoor quarrying exhibits, as well as through educational and heritage programmes,” the website stated. 

“Visitors will be able to make their way up to ‘The Quarryman’s Viewpoint’, access to which will be improved by works to the pathway and the introduction of slate signage.  

“Finally, a natural history trail will lead to the former saw sheds, which will themselves be renovated to improve their condition and sustainability performance.  

“It will allow visitors to get a real sense of the quarry’s rich history, dating back to the middle of the 19th century, and find out about the generations of miners and quarrymen who worked there, extracting the area’s distinctive Lakeland Green slate.” 

Renders of tourism proposal from Elterwater Quarry. Picture: Elterwater Quarry

Allen Gibb, chief executive of the Holker Group, which owns Burlington, told the committee it would help tell the story of quarry workers and the site to a younger generation.  

“We really need to keep enhancing the appeal of the Lake District to combat the decline in numbers since Covid,” he said. 

“We also need to attract younger people to the area. This type of fascinating experience would appeal to them.” 

While the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body to UNESCO, had voiced opposition to the plans, officers of the Lake District national park development committee had recommended the proposal.  

Icomos the project could impact the area’s “tranquil and contemplative character”.  

Ultimately, the committee voted to reject the proposal, with some stating the project would hurt the Lake District’s World Heritage status. UNESCO in 2017 designated the status onto the Lake District. It gives the English region a similar status to worldwide places of acclaim like the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon.  

Gibb told The Mail that the company still believed the new tourism project had promise.  

“We are disappointed that committee members have gone against the recommendation of their officer colleagues and refused our application for an educational heritage experience in the caverns at Elterwater Quarry. We still believe in the value this project can bring to the local area and will now assess our next steps,” he said. 

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