Unfortunately, contrary to perhaps understandable superficial impressions, most of Honister Crag is in fact the very reverse of 'man-made'. It's in fact arguably the wildest bit of crag in England.
The site is an SSSI primarily because it is a stronghold of an extremely scarce vegetation community that is both extremely vulnerable to disturbance and, in terms the area it covers at Honister, unique south of the border.
Most of the broad ledge systems you see as you look up at the crag from the road carry extensive stands of what's known as 'Tall herb' communities. These are scarce habitat types, related to the alpine meadows of continental Europe. They are typically found on un- or lightly grazed upland cliff ledges, and restricted to base-rich substrates and sheltered situations.
Tall herb is highly valued for both representing one of the few totally natural habitats surviving in Britain and for providing a refuge for rare, grazing-sensitive, montane plants. As you can imagine, the bulk of the habitat - which is never abundant anywhere in the UK, is to be found in the Scottish Highlands. Honister is therefore outstanding in possessing a relative large amount of these plant communities; it is likely to possess more than half the Tall Herb to be found south of the border.
Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to scuff away the plant cover by repeated footfall. The reason Honister Crag is such a stronghold is that the steep north-facing cliff ledges have been mostly inaccessible to grazing animals and humans, apart from, until now, the occasional adventurous scrambler or climber.
The advent of the cableways and stapled rock that the Honister company have put in has changed all that however and the reason why the company got fined nearly £30,000 by Natural England was because they originally put in a new 'Via Ferrata' without consultation - which resulted in a large amount of damage to the Tall herb stands.
This is why controversy over the proposed Zip Wire development isn't just about aesthetics - increasing the numbers of people traversing formerly untrodden ground is going to increase the risk of degrading an already-threatened part of our natural heritage. (The new application advocates using the existing Via Ferrate to gain access to the launching point - which itself would now be constructed on the Crag itself, rather than on the summit slopes as in the previous application. Implicit in this application therefore is that there will be a large increase in users and therefore potential footfall in sensitive areas).
You can see the damage the extent Via Ferrate is having in the pic below. Before it was put in the eroded ledge at the bottom was a stronghold of the scarce upland plant Globefower. Now it's nearly all been scuffed away and the rest is following it due to the continual passage of punters.