THE designs for the UK’s first regional currency have been made public for the first time as the Lake District prepares to launch its own money on May 1.

The Lake District Pound is a community initiative designed to help locals and visitors enjoy Cumbrian culture, support local businesses and help look after the area’s landscapes and communities.

The first designs for the LD£1, LD£5, LD£10 and LD£20 paper currency denominations introduce four themes – designed to represent the unique character of the region, its heritage and people.

l The LD£1 is based around ‘Fun and Adventure’, featuring an artist’s rendering of Beatrix Potter as a child, as well as Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons and a view of the Langdale Pikes.

l The LD£5 celebrates ‘Creativity and Freedom’, featuring Alfred Wainwright, the author of the legendary Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, Innominate Tarn where his ashes are scattered and a view of the Skiddaw range near Keswick.

l The LD£10 celebrates ‘Resilience and Determination’, embodied by record breaking Wasdale fell runner Joss Naylor and the rugged view across Wastwater to Great Gable.

l The LD£20 represents ‘Love for the Landscape’ and features Victorian thinker and artist John Ruskin, as well as Dorothy and William Wordsworth and a view across Grasmere to Helm Crag.

Ken Royall, founder and director of the Lakes Currency Project, said: "We’re ecstatic to finally reveal the first ever Lake District Pound designs, and are looking forward to launching this exciting project for the benefit of our local businesses and communities.

"The Lake District Pound is a new way for people to explore the distinctive culture of our region and feel part of the community, both by interacting with the currency itself, but also by visiting our unique local businesses and meeting the people who own them.

Mr Royall said people would be able to use the currency in local businesses and tourist attractions from May 1, when he will officially make the first purchase with Lake District Pounds to board a steamer across Ullswater from Glenridding.

The currency can be used interchangeably with and alongside Sterling, but can only be spent in locally owned, independent businesses and tourist attractions. In addition, people will also be able to buy a ‘LD£ Passport’ to fill with unique stamps from local businesses as they explore.

The Lake District Pound is an annual currency. New currency will be released each year and be valid from January 31 for 12 months.

However, the new designs will be available from December, giving people a two month overlap to exchange any leftover currency for the next year’s designs. People can also swap leftover Lake District Pounds back to Sterling at any time during their period of validity.

People can exchange Sterling for the equivalent value in Lake District Pounds for free at LD£ Exchange Points across the area - including most major Post Offices. They are also available from the Lakes Currency Project’s website at

The Lake District pounds can then be spent just like Sterling in businesses that are part of the initiative and display the LD£ symbol in their windows.

People can stamp their LD£ Passport in local businesses on the Passport Trail – every business has a unique stamp.

Businesses can take the Lake District pound to the Post Office, which will deposit it directly into their bank accounts as Sterling.

Every time someone keeps an LD£ as a memento, this creates proceeds that will be divided between Cumbria Community Foundation and the Lake District Foundation.

The currency designs also incorporate several security features - including thermochromatic ink and silver foil. There is also a UV layer on each design showing the night sky over Cumbria under ultraviolet light. This is in addition to a number of covert safeguarding measures.