The Lake District National Park has been inhabited and cultivated by humans for at least 5000 years. In such an environment, what does the term “natural” mean? The area is a region of supreme natural beauty and has inspired generations of authors to reflect on the qualities of nature. Geologic events and climatic conditions cast the foundations for the development of complex interactions between humans and the environment that

resulted in this serene landscape. Modern demands are forcing changes to the land. The Lake District has committed to be carbon neutral by 2025. Declines in biodiversity are triggering alarms. Society recognizes the value of planting more trees, but the shepherds need open space to graze their sheep and tourists value the unobstructed view. A rewilding movement seeks to promote natural ecosystems, but that begs the question, “What is natural?” 

By cross referencing the two fields of biology and literature, we hope to uncover how humans’ attitudes towards nature have impacted the actual decisions made regarding the land. Together, as an abroad, we will search for evidence for the definition of “natural” by observing the ecosystem, researching stakeholder perspectives, and by reading from the works of Lake District authors past and present.