Thousands sign petition opposing plans to turn Lake District's Elterwater Quarry into 'theme park'

  • Video report by Fiona Marley-Paterson

A petition set up opposing proposals to turn a Lake District quarry into a tourist attraction has won support from thousands of people.

The online document on was created on Saturday 11 June. By the morning of Thursday 16 June, it had attracted over 20,000 signatures, way above its 15,000 target.

The webpage, started by a group called 'Zip Off Langdale', says Burlington Stone wants to turn Elterwater Quarry into a 'theme park' with high ropes courses and a rollercoaster.

"Langdale and Elterwater cannot cope with increased traffic," says the preamble to the petition.

"Langdale is the jewel in the crown of the Lake District, and its natural beauty, landscapes, traditions, and tranquillity attract tourists and locals alike.

"It is not a suitable location for theme park rides."

The page dismisses references by project bosses to electric vehicle charging points and 'heritage interpretation' as 'greenwash nods'.

The quarry proposals, which are still in their 'exploratory' phase, currently include a toboggan-style 'Cavern Coaster' that would take passengers through forested areas, reclaimed quarry land and culminate in an underground section through the caverns.

Visitors would be able to enjoy 'Quarry Explorer' high ropes courses, while vantage points would enable those not taking part to watch on.

Burlington Stone has partnered with Zip World to make its vision for the quarry a reality.

Holker Group, which owns the Kirkby-in-Furness-based stone company, has sought to emphasise the educational elements of the scheme.

A spokesman said the vision was for the quarry to become a 'heritage attraction' that would 'bring out the history of the Lake District stone-quarry industry' and 'how slate has influenced the vernacular' of the national park.

"We are keen to educate people with the history of this business that we have been in for over 200 years," he said.

"It's an immersive experience where people will move around the quarry void and quarry caverns."

Commenting on an article published in the Westmorland Gazette, a statement on behalf of Burlington Stone said:

"A planning application has not been submitted and exploratory work has focused on the creation of a heritage based amenity promoting the history of the slate industry and the natural geology of the Lake District.

"Discussions have focused on vitally important topics including sustainable transport solutions, significant reduction in quarry traffic, ecology, bio-diversity, housing and employment.

"Stakeholder engagement to date has been both positive and reassuring and we continue to listen to the aspirations of numerous interest groups."

A spokesperson for the Lake District National Park Authority said:

"We are aware of the proposal for a tourism development at Elterwater Quarry. We have provided the applicant with initial comments and a scoping opinion setting out what information should be included in an Environmental Statement. We have not received a planning application.  If we do, it will be considered in due course."

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a planning application for the site is currently being developed.