STUDENTS will not be able to begin English literature undergraduate degrees in the Lake District this year after low turnout forced the University of Cumbria (UoC) to ‘suspend’ the course’s 2021 intake.

The decision, made due to low student demand, was one which the university said it had taken ‘reluctantly’.

It will come as a disappointment to those students who had already signed up to study the discipline in an area famed for its literary heritage.

Among the writers to be inspired by the Lake District’s landscape was Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, who made the national park her home.

Liz Hunter MacFarlane, committee member at the Beatrix Potter Society, said: “There is that huge culture of art and literature in the Lakes.

“I don’t know what effect not having that course operating within the region will have.

“From the uni’s point of view, they can’t run a course if it’s not viable.”

Despite a nationwide slump in applications to English degrees, Mrs Hunter Macfarlane, 49, is confident Beatrix Potter will stand the test of time.

“Beatrix was a great one for adapting and moving on,” she said.

“For the last 120 years, Peter Rabbit and his friends have adapted and changed according to what’s been happening.

“We have had the animation and refreshed versions of the books.

“He lives on, he adapts and changes, and I think that’s what will happen - art and literature moves on.”

Dr Penny Bradshaw, UoC programme leader for BA English literature, said students who had applied to study the course at undergraduate level in September had been ‘personally contacted by a principal lecturer’ from the university’s arts institute to discuss their options.

“The programme team are currently working on the development of future provision in the field of literary studies at our Ambleside campus, which will focus on environmental writing, the rich literary heritage of the region, and creative responses to place and natural landscapes,” she said.

“We will be developing a suite of programmes with flexible learning opportunities which respond to the cultural landscapes of the region.”