Countryside celebrity in natural beauty spotlight – University of Cumbria

TV presenter Kate Humble will trigger a critical Lakes-based post COP26 symposium exploring natural beauty in some of the country’s most popular and fragile places.

The online event with a stellar line-up of speakers comes courtesy of the University of Cumbria’s Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA) on December 1.

Aimed at probing landscape care and management at a time of climate and biodiversity crises, the Countryfile and Springwatch celebrity is expected to talk about beauty being ‘little more than a façade’.

She will argue that attractiveness comes from landscapes that work, supporting life and livelihoods, stressing the importance of biodiversity, rural skills and crafts.

Organiser Rob Fraser, of Ambleside-based CNPPA and the People Land Art Culture Ecology (PLACE) Collective, said a raft of speakers had been selected from a range of interests, spanning ecology, art, earth sciences, farming and landscape management.

He explained: “The timing is very significant as it follows Glasgow’s global spotlight on subjects we’ll be highlighting. We are inviting discussion about different ways of working together to reframe our relationship with the natural world.

“Beauty is more than skin deep. We need to discover how to communicate, through art and other media, the value of open spaces and their role in resilience, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and renewable energy potential.”

The symposium is expected to appeal to those in land management, conservation, farming and tourism within national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, along with artists exploring these themes.

Mr Fraser said: “We have seen a massive increase in domestic tourism during the pandemic. Lockdowns have revealed just how important green and open spaces are to wellbeing.

“However, alongside benefits there have been problems with littering and damage to these fragile areas threatening the very heart of our natural beauty. It’s time to think about how to care for what is loved in a time of change.”

The event coincides with landmark anniversaries, the 70th of the Lake District National Park and Wye Valley AONB’s 50th.

“The two areas were key inspirations for William Wordsworth and the birth of the Romantic and Picturesque movements, which shaped what came to be celebrated as natural beauty,” added Mr Fraser.

“Today, they share the same challenges. We need to rethink things and oversee changes in land use that are essential to reverse biodiversity decline, reduce carbon emissions and build resilience as the climate changes.”

Booking is on 

The virtual event runs from 1pm to 5pm.


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