Now we know why they wanted all that toilet paper!


The Lake District National Park Authority held a Visitor Poll on the 30th and 31st of May. They asked interesting questions.


Before your visit which of the following things did you do?
Use the LDNPA website to check how busy areas were.  35.5%

Plan your destination AND end up at that destination.  38.7%

Plan your destination AND change your plan enroute. 55.1%

Use social media to research your visit.    43.4%

Bring a picnic and refreshments.    42.2%

Bring a BBQ.    25.8%

Bring alcohol.    70.3%


Then they asked them; before your visit, which of the following things were you aware of.


Not all car parks are open.      58.2%

Not all toilets are open.     70.3%

Most shops are closed.  74.6%

Most food businesses are closed.  39.5%

Local people are worried about visitors not respecting social distancing.  86.7%

You should take your litter home.  34.4%

You should follow the Country Code.  12.5%

You should check how busy areas are before you arrive.  59.4%


Then they asked them, in normal times would you have been in the

Lake District Today?  80% answered no they would have been somewhere else.


Finally they asked them, what was your main reason for visiting the Lake District today?
We love the Lake District.   13.5%

We wanted to cool off in the water.  12.2%

We wanted to take exercise.  9.8%

We wanted to meet family and friends in a safe environment. 18.8%

The lockdown has been lifted.  8.2%

The thing we’d normally be doing is closed. 15.3%

Family gathering to celebrate Eid al Fitr.  3.3%

Other outdoor destinations were too busy. 9.8%

Passive aggressive responses such as ‘why not’ or mentioning Dominic Cummings 4.2%

Motorbike was gathering dust. 4.9%


Now there has been a move to get more tourists into the Park, but also to reach out to people who don’t normally visit. It looks like this weekend they’d inadvertently succeeded.


The Park also produced a weekend summary which highlighted problems.


  • Visitor numbers increased by an estimated 40% on the peak of the bank holiday weekend.
  • Anywhere with access to water was rammed.
  • It’s worth noting that it was busy in some areas. It was not however an old fashioned busy day in the Lakes. The towns are mostly very quiet.


However there were ‘issues’ which the summary highlighted.


The Park staff normally collect 10 bin bags of litter per week. (Obviously this does not include the litter people have very correctly deposited in bins.)

On this weekend they collected 138 bags of litter picked up off the ground.


The Park staff normally dispose of around 3 pieces of human waste from their car parks in the average month. In this one weekend they disposed over 100 pieces of human waste. Many of these in car parks where there was a toilet that was open.


There were large numbers of BBQ’s, camp fires and similar found throughout the weekend in spite of people being asked not to light them and there being a fire risk.


The Park Rangers and other organisations found over 200 overnight campers in the park during the weekend. On Islands, shores, mountains and car parks. That’s just the ones they found.


Car parks in the Rydal area were at capacity by 9am on both days. Terrible parking problems in the surrounding areas. The Park staff did put out cones and signs but it was a losing battle. The whole Coniston area was bad. East of the Lake was the worst anybody had seen. The road was virtually impassable for much of the day. The standard of parking was frankly appalling.


Windermere and the shores around it were intensely busy with inconsiderate parking closing resident access. People couldn’t get in or out of their homes.


With regard to Buttermere, Derwentwater, Borrowdale, Wasdale & Ennerdale, Bassenthwaite, and the shores of Ullswater.

These areas were simply the old problems of terrible fly parking, but with increased numbers of people. The people there had less respect for the natural environment than pre-COVID19 visitors. Roads became impassable for much of the day.



So, having read the survey and the summary what have we learned? Well up until now, the Lake District appears to have attracted a selection of visitors who have been largely educated in how to behave. Perhaps we never realised how well behaved they were. Also it shows how a large part of our urban population doesn’t really understand the rural environment and frankly doesn’t particularly care whether they inconvenience people or not, provided they get a decent place on the lake shore. Indeed it is entirely possible that the old saying, “I wouldn’t trust them to sit the right way on a lavatory” might well be literally true in some cases.”

What can we do about it? Well traffic and ridiculous parking is something that we could tackle. The roads are so crowded you literally couldn’t get in to tow people away. If you clamped them it might actually make things worse. Swamp the area with wardens handing out fixed penalty parking tickets? Serious fixed penalties, given these people are blocking not merely the access of other visitors but also the access of emergency vehicles.
Alternatively they could perhaps stop traffic on a road and authorise a tractor with a silage trailer to go through to clear the passage with the emergency vehicle following behind.

I think there is going to have to be a tourist tax. Cumbria has a population of fewer than half a million. Yet Cumbrians are providing the police, car parking and toilets (even if not all the tourists know how to use them) for about 20 million visitors.
Or we could just cut tourist numbers. You want to come to Cumbria, book ahead, without a booking you get turned back as you try to leave the M6?

Or perhaps we could just ban their cars? When you pay your council tax in Cumbria you get a disc you can put on your car and that allows you into the county. Everybody else comes in by public transport or parks in a ‘park and ride’ car park near the motorway junction?
Some or all these ideas are probably impracticable, but we cannot go on like this.


Somebody I know who was out on the fells recently commented, “I despair at the large groups of lads shouting at each other, playing music on their phones and tripping each other up and causing rock slides. One group said I was ‘organised’ because I was able to tell them where they were and which direction they needed to go as I had a map. People are wandering around between Styhead tarn, Great End, the bottom of Piers Gill and Broad Crag with no idea of where they were and no idea of how to figure out where they were. ‘How long till Sca Fell Pike…and is this the way’ I was asked by three separate groups.

Smart phones have a lot to answer for. There is no familiarisation with maps at all now for many people. Drop a pin in on Google maps and magically the car finds itself there. Phones have GPS, but an OS or BMC map won’t go flat. The phone is mainly there to instagram and facebook as people show where they are and what they are doing.

I also can’t remember finding cans of lager in the hills either. Around camp sites and roads and near pubs etc, but not at 3,000 feet.”


It’s not just Cumbria that is going to suffer, the other National Parks will doubtless get more visitors. And don’t try going by road, apparently there’s been a boom in caravan sales.

From car dealer magazine.
“One campervan dealer told us he had sold a month’s worth of stock in the first week back after the lockdown while Auto Trader has reported caravan advert views up 18 per cent and motorhome adverts up 17 per cent.

Meanwhile, auctions are selling to the trade and well above predicted prices with bidding ‘frenzied’ among dealers scrabbling to replenish stock.”


I don’t know where you were hoping to get to, but frankly it could be quicker walking.



What do I know?
Speak to the expert

A collection of anecdotes, it’s the distillation of a lifetime’s experience of peasant agriculture in the North of England. I’d like to say ‘All human life is here,’ but frankly there’s more about Border Collies, Cattle and Sheep.

As a reviewer commented, “A delightful, chatty collection of jottings, which capture the mindset of sheep and their shepherd on a day to day basis. Thank you for this refreshing ramble in the Cumbrian countryside, Jim!”

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49 thoughts on “Now we know why they wanted all that toilet paper!

  1. rootsandroutes2012 June 25, 2020 at 4:54 am Reply

    Oh dear, I’m feeling ignorant (again). GPS I’ve used for years, and OS maps for decades… but what’s BMC?

  2. Eddy Winko June 25, 2020 at 6:00 am Reply

    very sad to read.

  3. patriciaruthsusan June 25, 2020 at 6:24 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    A description of tourist behavior in the Lake District National Park. Also, a humorous book by Jim Webster.

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 6:55 am Reply

      Not an encouraging read I’m sorry 😦

      • patriciaruthsusan June 25, 2020 at 11:14 am

        I’m thinking why go and get into that mess. I’d rather sit at home and read about it or see it on TV. 🙂 — Suzanne

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 11:33 am

        I think that the problem is people are so desperate just to get out of the house

  4. Cathy Cade June 25, 2020 at 7:24 am Reply

    By the time bylaws are passed they’ll be allowed abroad again without having to isolate and they’ll be off to Benidorm.
    I have to confess I’m one of those who now relies on Jane (of the SatNav) to get me anywhere. Those days of poring over maps before travelling and driving with the A-Z open on my lap are long gone. These days the A-Z is just a blur anyway, without my reading specs.

    • rootsandroutes2012 June 25, 2020 at 7:30 am Reply

      I’m so grateful for people like you, Cathy. You help to ensure that when we see a jam and pick out a different route on our paper map, it’s still usually passable.

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 7:37 am

        Yes, in our case the navigator will look at the map and say things like, “If you take the first left, and then follow this road, you’ll miss everything”
        Or alternatively meet the other queue avoiders coming in the opposite direction 🙂

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 7:36 am Reply

      It’s the reading glasses issue that ensures I never bother using my phone for anything but phone calls. When I’m working it’s not practical to carry reading glasses around with me, and I’d need a towel to wipe things down before I touched phone or glasses 🙂
      But when I’m walking or driving, reading glasses are easily to hand. Indeed in our household I’m more normally the navigator than the driver 🙂

  5. jenanita01 June 25, 2020 at 7:39 am Reply

    Sometimes I despair at the human race, and feel shame at most of their antics…

  6. Ann Patras June 25, 2020 at 9:06 am Reply

    Reblogged this on The Crazy World of Ann Patras! and commented:
    If any of you were planning a trip to England’s Lake District on the next bank holiday, I’d think again if I were you. And the end of the article about caravans and motor homes was just mind-blowing if you drive the UK roads. Boy, am I glad I live in Spain. 😀

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 9:12 am Reply

      It is not looking good, to be honest 😦

  7. Ann Patras June 25, 2020 at 9:07 am Reply

    Simply horrific.

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 9:11 am Reply

      I suspect it wasn’t a lot of fun for those who had to clean up after them 😦

  8. Stevie Turner June 25, 2020 at 9:44 am Reply

    Oh, what a sad state of affairs. Our lovely Lake District spoiled by an increasing number of inconsiderate morons.

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 11:34 am Reply

      People used to say that we were ‘loving it to death’ but now they’ve seen the alternative 😦

  9. Lindsey Russell June 25, 2020 at 12:44 pm Reply

    The insanity is countrywide. If you didn’t see it on the national news this was Southend beach – just as crowded as on a normal Bank Holiday.

    Southend beach packed during coronavirus lockdown | ITV News – YouTube

    I used to live a few miles from Southend and never saw the attraction myself. I ‘escaped’ two years ago and now live in a very quiet Suffolk village that was thankfully almost like a ghost town.

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 2:18 pm Reply

      I had an aunt who lived in Southend, her husband worked at the oil refinery (?) many years ago so I’ve actually seen the place but it was in the 1960s 🙂

  10. Doug Jacquier June 25, 2020 at 1:18 pm Reply

    Seems to be a case of ‘anywhere but home and seeing the pubs aren’t open let’s get smashed at the same time; I mean who gives a s**t, so let’s have a s**t in someone else’s backyard’. I keep telling you, Jim, tollgates, DNA tests to identify the s****ers, and internal to the UK passports is the only way to go. 😉

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 2:15 pm Reply

      Opening the pubs will probably solve a lot of the problems 😦

  11. V.M.Sang June 25, 2020 at 1:45 pm Reply

    It sounds horrific! And the stat that 8.2% of people thought the lockdown has been lifted– well, what news have they been watching? (Admittedly, the Government hasn’t made a good job of its communications, though.)
    I feel angry and sad at the same time. Human waste? No one should be asked to clear that up. Disgusting.
    Cans at 3,000 feet? What’s in these people’s heads? Not brains, certainly.
    But don’t worry about the caravans and motorhomes. I suspect that once this is all over, they will be sitting on people’s drives causing an eyesore for their neighbours.

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2020 at 2:15 pm Reply

      I think I was left more saddened than anything else. It’s a sign that they care so little for others

  12. V.M.Sang June 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm Reply

    Or for the countryside. People are so selfish nowadays. I don’t know where it’s come from. I wasn’t brought up like than, nor were my friends, nor my, and their children.
    There were very few people like that when I was young and if parents taught their children as they had been taught themselves, I don’t think we’d have such things happening. Sadly, though, I think it’s self-perpetuating. The children of these louts will think such behaviour is OK because they’ve not been taught otherwise.
    Once, we were taught to think of others first. Then someone, or several someones, decided that some people (mainly mothers and wives, I suspect) were being ‘put upon’ and all the time were giving, ignoring their own wishes. So the idea of ‘me time’ came about. This has escalated into ‘Me all the time@ in my opinion.

  13. petespringerauthor June 26, 2020 at 2:06 am Reply

    I’m not sure which statistic blows my mind the most. I think most of this falls into the category of “blissfully ignorant.” At least they brought alcohol.🤣

    • jwebster2 June 26, 2020 at 4:29 am Reply

      I confess I read the report in pretty much that manner. I felt that the fact that so many had settled on alcohol as the one important part of the day (in spite of the fact that by definition they had to drive there) rather summed people up. That and the fact that 86.7% knew that local people are worried about visitors not respecting social distancing but decided that was an irrelevance.

  14. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 26, 2020 at 8:13 pm Reply

    Immediately pass an ordnance that allows you to get ticket revenue from anyone doing something no intelligent human would do (including leaving trash and human waste – eew!) They’d have a fit if someone did it where they live.

    Also, possibly, a day pass – with parking rights?

    You can even say it’s temporary – two years – and may be repealed if not necessary.

    If people want to behave like the thoughtless buffoons they are, it has to cost them. If they go elsewhere – you don’t care!

    Be glad they answered the survey – you now have some data.

    It’s going to be a long summer. Monetize it if you can – then those who don’t want to pay will go elsewhere, too.

    • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 4:43 am Reply

      One problem is that we don’t have enough anything, because the local authority is funded more for the 500,000 people who live scattered thinly across it
      We have a population of 74 per square kilometer
      The local authority has suggested all sorts of tourist tax but national governments are elected by the 20 million visitors not the half millon locals so no national government of any party has felt they wanted to step in

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 6:57 am

        You do have local governments – they are paying for cleanup. And having to hire the people to do it.

        Island Beach State Park in New Jersey, where we used to go to the shore, controlled access – and charged. If you got there too late, they wouldn’t let you in. We waited several times until the early arrivers started to leave, around 2pm, and then they’d allow us in.

        It made for adequate parking, restrooms, and showers. And a decent beach experience.

      • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 7:28 am

        Our local authorities do not have the legal authority. They can produce bylaws but only under authority granted by Parliament in an act of parliament that covers that specific area. (So imposing a tourist tax or similar is right outside their authority) and the proposed bylaw must then be agreed by the Secretary of State

        When comparing Cumbria with New Jersey, the latter has 16 times the population, New Jersey has more people than Wales, Scotland and Ireland combined 🙂
        Mind you the state park has an area of 3000 acres and it doesn’t look as if anybody really lives there much. The Lake District National Park has an area of 583,747 acres, a majority privately owned, and 40,000 inhabitants.
        Not only that but I cannot actually get to the rest of England without driving across the National Park, a lot of main roads run through it connecting the West coast of Cumbria to the rest of the UK. So stopping entry is very difficult. Indeed the M6 motorway is the eastern boundary of the Lake District National Park and at the same place, the Western Boundary of the Yorkshire Dales national park, (538,240 acres with over 20,000 inhabitants)

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 7:39 am

        You’re telling me nothing can be done.

        Are your municipalities allowed to collect parking fines?

      • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 7:56 am

        They can but they cannot just arbitrarily decide where you can and cannot park

        I found this in the 166 page guidance document that local authorities have to work through 🙂
        “If an authority wishes to introduce civil parking enforcement in all or part
        of its area, it must apply to the Secretary of State for one or more
        appropriate designation orders on the form at the end of this Chapter.
        The form is also available on the Department’s website. The authorities
        which are eligible to apply, and the types of order for which they may
        apply, are described in Chapter 12. If the Secretary of State is satisfied
        with an authority’s application, s/he will make an order, or orders,
        enabling the relevant restrictions to be enforced by the local authority
        rather than the police service – either throughout the local authority’s
        area, or in a specified part or parts of its area.”

        To an extend this was introduced for the protection of the public because the local authorities were raising money by screwing motorists who tended not to be the people who were entitled to vote for the local authority

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 4:27 pm

        Makes sense – but those motorists are leaving a mound of garbage.

        Maybe you can just leave it there, so they don’t want to come the next time.

        It sounds as if you have a lot of bureaucracy (not that we have less).

        Around here we call those places which make a lot of their revenue from people passing through “speed traps.” People pay the fines rather than have to go back to a tiny town in some state they don’t live in. They WERE breaking the law, though.

      • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 5:12 pm

        Road speedtraps are a police issue, not a local authority issue
        So the police will have their own policies. Cumbria constabulary does have some speed cameras.
        If parking is dangerous, the police can step in, but there are only 1100 of them for all of Cumbria so they’re very thinly spread.
        They’re mainly based in the urban areas on the fringe where they’re busy enough as it is
        Our problem is we are very centralised, Probably too centralised. But then physically we’re not very big, but are densely populated

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 6:08 pm

        Your stories of people who leave garbage on your property make me mad – gentlemen’s agreements don’t work unless people know each other.

        But nobody should throw garbage on someone else’s home.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        It seems wrong that they can do anything they want, and then just leave – because you haven’t thought of their inconsiderateness beforehand.

      • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm

        Some of it is that it’s all England and there is no real provision for internal boundaries within England (Scotland and Wales have different restrictions but I’m not sure what they do on the ‘boundary’ because it’s only since the pandemic it’s been an issue)

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 6:09 pm

        Journalism may be your only salvation: a nice little video segment on the worst of it could make a FEW people grow up.

      • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        I suspect it will be more a case of lobbying politicians. MPs of three main parties have constituents who have had to suffer from this influx and there’ll be a strong environmental lobby behind it as well. On top of that it’s potentially a money raising opportunity
        Then it’s a world heritage site and the government has a duty to stop it being damaged by too many visitors

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt June 27, 2020 at 7:38 pm

        Very complex problems, but people behaving like animals doesn’t help.

  15. Widdershins June 27, 2020 at 3:04 am Reply

    There are days when I really am not fond of the human species.

    • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 4:28 am Reply

      There are times when we’re not easy to like

  16. M T McGuire June 27, 2020 at 7:28 am Reply

    Blimey that sounds grim. I’m guessing this is what happens when people who have never been on holiday in the UK aren’t able to go abroad. Perhaps you are getting the people who normally go to magalouf. I’ve been thinking for a while now that people really need to learn the country code. When I was a kid it was drummed into is at school: walk round the edge of planted fields, stick to the footpath, put dogd on the lead in fields of livestock, shut gates after you … Sensible things like that.

    I don’t think kids learn that stuff any more.

    As for the campervan sales … From what I gather everyone had gone a bit mad. A friend is mine sells beds and she and a colleague hit the entire week’s sales target in a few hours on Monday morning.



    • jwebster2 June 27, 2020 at 7:57 am Reply

      Yes I suspect we’re seeing what we dumped on the Spanish.
      Apparently the country code isn’t even mentioned in a lot of schools

      • M T McGuire June 27, 2020 at 8:03 am

        It’s a great pity. We need to understand and appreciate our countryside and learn to care about both it and the people who live and work there!

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