Bids have closed for people hoping to buy 100 acres of the Lake District, which the National Park has put up for sale.

The National Park Authority says its budget has been cut by almost 23% in the last 5 years, so it's put the eight sites up for sale as it needs money to maintain its land and start new projects.

But it's caused huge controversy among local people and tourists, many of whom have signed petitions in a bid to stop the sale.

The Save Stickle Tarn group has over 6000 supporters, many tourists as well as locals, while a wider petition to stop sales of land in all the country's National Parks has over 160,000 signatures.

The Save Stickle Tarn group has over 6000 supporters. Credit: ITV Border
  • There are eight plots of land up for sale:

Arguments over how the National Park should be managed and who should own it have been raging in Cumbria for hundreds of years.

Famous Lakeland names like Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth fought to put the Lake District in public ownership.

Beatrix Potter. Credit: Tophams/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

The Romantic movement succeeded many years later in the formation of the Lake District National Park in 1951.

This particular argument has been raging in village halls, and newspaper letter pages and has even reached Westminster over the last month since this sale was announced.

Who owns the National Park?

3.9%

Lake District National Park Authority

8%

United Utilities

20%

National Trust

The rest is privately owned.

The Lake District National Park Authority says the public won't notice any difference after the lands have been sold: they'll still be publicly accessible and subject to all the same restrictions.

But community groups argue the sale has been too quick to register the lands as community interests and say it's wrong to sell the National Park.

Gilly and John Hodkinson from Rydal Village Society and who live near Baneriggs & Lady Wood in Grasmere. Credit: ITV Border

"It's only five weeks since the first adverts were put in and it takes at least eight weeks to register a community interest so there's been no opportunity to investigate and put forward objections.

Gilly and John Hodkinson from Rydal Village Soceity

"The land the National Park own - although only a small percentage of the National Park - is tremendously valuable amenity land.

Ian Brodie, Voluntary Advisor for the Open Spaces Society

But the National Park says these areas won't be under threat.

It argues the public won't notice any difference to how the land is used and they'll still be subject to protection and planning restrictions.

"I think it's important that people understand that if we sell a small proportion of that land it doesn't mean that that land can't be protected and visited.

Richard Leafe, Chief Executive, Lake District National Park Authority

The National Trust says it won't be buying any of the properties.

“The National Trust cares passionately about the Lake District. We own around a fifth of the Lake District and need all the support of our members and donors to look after these special places.

National Trust Spokesperson