A day with the Fix the Fells Rangers

This week our Trusts & Grants Lead Michele had her first opportunity to spend the day with the Fix the Fells Rangers.

Michele was joined by our Fundraising Manager Steve, Fix the Fells Partnership Manager Isabel, Ross and Carol from National Trust, four Fix the Fells Rangers and Cassie the dog.

The day was filled with revelations and has increased my admiration for the team’s dedication and hard work. It was a day of understanding not just the physicality of the task, but the depth of knowledge and passion that goes into every path they restore.

Inclusivity in Action: The team doesn’t just build paths. They collaborate with diverse groups, including walkers and mountain bikers, to ensure the paths serve all users effectively. This inclusive approach has led to results that benefit everyone who traverses the fells. ‘We need to be good neighbours’ was the message from one Ranger and you can see that they feel that is at the heart of their work in the Lakes’ community.

Nature’s Encyclopedia: The team possesses extensive knowledge about every aspect of the environment they work in, from the types of rocks to the species of plant life. This knowledge is crucial in preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the fells. Turves are moved with care and root systems intact so that they can root easily and provide a further barrier to erosion. The common butterwort was identified – I had no idea that a beautiful carnivorous plant was eating insects on the path side.

Psychology of Walking: Understanding the psychology of walking is integral to their work. Fix the Fells design paths that are intuitive to find and follow, enhancing the experience for all visitors, keeping footfall away from the delicate landscape. Did you know that a well-placed bund (mound of earth) can deter a walker from creating a new path and encourage a natural pool to bring biodiversity to each route.

Landscaping for the Future: The team is constantly looking at how they can improve the paths and considering potential options for the future. Their work is not just about maintaining the status quo, but about enhancing and evolving the landscape. We heard about how when the Rangers return in a few weeks, they will assess how the changes we made have been interpreted by walkers – literally examining the footfall and making adjustments with creative and intuitive designs.

Hard Work and Dedication: The work is physically demanding, but the team’s commitment never wavers. Their tireless efforts are a testament to their dedication to preserving the fells. We carried mattocks, buckets and shovels up to Walla Crag from Ashness Bridge at a pace that I could not sustain, these folk are incredibly fit and shift 30 tonnes of rock per Ranger each year by hand.

Sustainability and the Local Economy: The team prioritises the use of sustainable and local materials. For example, they use ash felled from ash die back for the tree cages. Ash requires no chemical treatment and the cracks that form through weathering act as winter nest sites for insects. Fix the Fells support the local economy by swapping goods where they can and employing local companies to provide tools and stones.

Love for the Fells and Craftsmanship: Above all, what stood out was the team’s love for the fells and their craft. Their creativity and craftsmanship are evident in every path they build and every stone they lay.

The day was an inspiring, powerful reminder of the incredible work being done to preserve our fells.

Our supporters played a crucial role in these efforts, and I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone who has contribution. The team’s work is a testament to the power of dedication, knowledge, and a love for nature.

Fix the Fells is a partnership project between the National Trust, Lake District Foundation, the Lake District National Park Authority, Natural England and Friends of the Lake District.

Find out more

Double your donation for new Windermere project

We’ve launched a new project aiming to improve the biodiversity and water quality of England’s largest lake.

Campaigners have recently highlighted a decline in Windermere’s water quality. Now, we’re partnering with South Cumbria Rivers Trust and Windermere Science Festival to spearhead direct action to restore the life of the lake.

A fundraising campaign is taking place during the national ‘Big Green Give’ week which starts on Thursday 18th April and ends at noon on Thursday 25th April.

Our aim is to double £40,000 pledged by local businesses, Trusts and philanthropists, to secure £80,000 to support the life of the lake.

Funds raised will go towards restoring and planting 1400 square metres of reedbeds in Windermere. The project will harness ‘reed power’ which will boost biodiversity, support water quality and reduce erosion, as well as creating sustainable eco-systems.

Sarah Swindley, Lake District Foundation CEO said:

“This wonderful lake, treasured by millions, is facing extreme environmental and climate pressure.

We know the challenges that Windermere is up against, now it’s time to take positive action.

We have an amazing opportunity to raise £80,000 to fund the life of the lake, but we can’t do that without your support.

We desperately need everyone who cares about Windermere to make this fundraising drive count by donating what you can and sharing the campaign with friends, family and colleagues.

We only have 7 days to reach our goal.”

Open water swimmers including Team GB Olympic swimmer Hector Pardoe, who will be competing in the Paris games this summer, have backed the campaign. Pardoe spoke in support of the project:

“Having visited the Lake District for many years now, I’ve become increasingly passionate about preserving its beauty. The serene lakes and lush landscapes have not only provided me with a sense of tranquillity but have also underscored the importance of protecting our natural resources.”

Lake District Foundation Ambassador Thao Nunns said:

“This is such an important campaign and I’m proud to support it. Windermere is an icon, famous around the world for its beauty. The lake is also a vital eco-system and we should do everything we can to protect it for generations to come.”

Nunns, who works with the Lake District-based outdoors group Wonderful Wild Women continued, “There is increased awareness on the challenges facing the lake, but I’m pleased to see real action happening to improve the situation. I hope that everyone who loves Windermere can get behind this campaign and help to raise the funds needed.”

Hue thanks to the business and organisations who have pledged to match funds raised during the week: Langdale Estates, Lakes Distillery, Cedar Manor, Burn How Garden House Hotel, Lake District National Park Authority and the Reed Foundation.

Big Green Give week runs from 18th – 25th April 2024.

Support the campaign at lakedistrictfoundation.org/biggive

We’ve got a fresh new look!

We’ve got a fresh and bold new look to reflect our mission and values.

Here’s why it was the right time for an update…

Back in the mid-1990s, Nurture Lakeland began to work with the tourist industry here in the Lake District. Their aim was to help businesses and visitors give back to this magnificent part of the planet.

Fast forward to 2017, and the organisation became a registered charity named the Lake District Foundation. With a widened remit, a smart new Director and an ambition to help make the Lake District the best National Park in the world, we set to work.

Nearly 7 years later and we’ve proved ourselves to be excellent advocates and custodians for Cumbria. We’ve already invested over £2.8 million into the region through our grant-giving programmes.

Now we’re established, we wanted to show our personality. Our fresh new brand characterises us as an exciting, forward-looking and relevant organisation, whilst remaining rooted in the place and people we’re working for.

With earthy tones and natural textures, we feel that our new look does a better job of telling our story than our old logo did. We hope you’ll agree.

Rest-assured, although we look a little different, our values are the same.

The Lake District Foundation exists to fund, collaborate and inspire change on things that matter to the region.

Now we’re doing it with a little more style!

New work to support farmers across Windermere

A consultant has been appointed to work with farmers across the Windermere catchment.

Meet Hannah Towers, the new Farming Liaison Officer for the Love Windermere Partnership.

The focus of Hannah’s work is to develop a good understanding of how the Love Windermere Partnership can support farmers and help to reduce nutrient input into Windermere.

Ready to engage with and listen to farmers, Hannah is keen to gain a full understanding of any issues and to identify and develop solutions that can be implemented.

Hannah grew up on a dairy farm near Kirkby Lonsdale and qualified as a land agent. She and her family now farm cattle and sheep on a farm at Troutbeck.

Find out more about Hannah and her work with farmers on the Love Windermere podcast.

Do you live near the new National Trails? We need you!

Local people are invited to take part in consultations on plans to develop two National Trails that pass through Northern England.

The King Charles III England Coast Path is currently being developed and will be a 2,700-mile trail showcasing the entire English coastline. When fully open, it will be the longest coastal path in the world. Together with Natural England and Durham Heritage Coast, we are leading the consultation on the Tyne to Tees section.

The Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route passes through the Lake District, North York Moors, and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Beloved by walkers for decades, the 197-mile route was given National Trail status in 2022.

There are 17 designated National Trails in England and Wales, which are long-distant footpaths and bridleways that pass through some of the UK’s most stunning landscapes.

The consultations are aimed at maximising benefits of the paths for local communities. The trails should be an asset to people who live and work nearby, so local perspectives are sought to help shape their development.

The consultation is hoping to hear residents, community groups, business owners, land managers and farmers.

Liv Allport, Programme Manager at the Lake District Foundation said: “We’re calling on people local to the National Trails to get involved and suggest how the development of these paths can benefit your area. You are experts on your local area, and we would love to hear from you. Other National Trails have positively impacted towns and villages around the path with increased tourism and other economic benefits. What can this National Trail do for your region?”

To take part in the consultation go to lakedistrictfoundation.org/national-trails

Thank you for your ideas. What’s next…?

The Lake District Foundation is the charity for the Lake District.

We bring together everyone who cares about this magnificent part of the planet, and that includes you!

As we look to the future, we wanted to hear from the people who live, work and play in the Lake District.

We asked for your ideas on the biggest challenges facing the area and what our priorities should be.

We were overwhelmed to receive nearly 200 articulate and detailed responses. In fact, your ideas amounted to over 11,000 words! We’re inspired by your passion and dedication for the region; thank you for sharing your ideas.

In this post, we’re going to attempt to (very) briefly summarise your key concerns and offer a sense of how our they will shape our plans.

There is huge support for the issue of clean rivers and lakes, with 76.5% of respondents suggesting it should be a priority.

Some respondents advocated for more support for farmers, whilst others expressed concern at the amount of land controlled by farmers. This feeds into a sense that there is a lack of biodiversity that risks the creation of monocultures. With this in mind, scores of people said there are too many sheep in the Lakes.

The most mentioned issue was transport. This included a lot of frustration around parking on verges and traffic jams. But mostly, respondents spoke of the need for an affordable, regular, reliable public transport system. Scores of you called for a “park and ride” scheme. Others advocated for better cycling links between villages, as well as buses that carry bikes. Whilst enthusiastic equestrians pointed out that a better bridleway network, that truly works for horses, would also benefit everyone.

There is a sense that there could be “too many” tourists. Rather than attempting to reduce overall numbers, some people suggested that more could be done to spread visitors widely across the National Park. That less famous, but equally beautiful parts of the region should be marketed as alternatives to Windermere, Ambleside and other well-known areas.

The concept of a visitor or tourist tax was mentioned numerous times. This was proposed to offset the damage done by visitors, and the money raised would be invested into looking after the National Park.

A lot of people are concerned about the lack of well-paid jobs and lack of affordable housing for people who live in the Lakes. To support the building of suitable houses and to bolster the local economy, numerous people suggested increasing council tax on second homes and holiday homes.

On a positive note, plenty of people noted that the Lake District is an incredible place to live and to visit It remains a place of peace and tranquillity, a place for outdoors adventures and a place you feel should be as accessible and welcoming as possible.

Your ideas provided rich insight for our small, dedicated team, who shares your passion for the Lake District. But we need your help to implement these ideas.

We are already working on many of the issues you raised and will prioritise these areas of work. We will also consider how we can approach issues beyond our usual remit, including greener transport.

We already know that transport is a priority, and this has been recognised by the National Park Partnership, of which we are a member. We’re working with the partners to identify funding and address this issue. We will also feed your thoughts into conversations about tourist tax emerging at a strategic level.

What we can say for sure is that over the next 5 years we’ll be working hard to fund, collaborate and inspire change on:

  1. Climate Action

We will innovate new ways to fund low carbon initiatives, taking a long-term approach to protecting the region from the impacts of climate change. We will continue to invest in infrastructure that makes the National Park accessible, while protecting it from erosion.

  1. Cleaner Lakes

Acknowledging the complexities around clean water, we will work with everyone who is part of the conversation. Looking at both long-term and immediate solutions, we will continue to educate on septic tanks, engage with farmers and use our role within the Love Windermere Partnership to ensure meaningful action is taken.

  1. Biodiversity

Woodland creation and management is vital for sustaining biodiversity. Beyond simply planting trees, we will educate land managers and work to restore our ancient woodlands, bringing them back from critical status. Hedgerow planting will also increase natural habitats for small animals and encourage bees.

  1. Inclusion and accessibility

Informed by the survey responses, we will ask, ‘Who is missing from the conversation, and why?’ We will help to share the Lake District, and the benefits of the natural world, with everyone. This incredible place should be inclusive and welcoming, no matter your background or access needs.

  1. Cultural Heritage

The people of Cumbria have a rich culture and history which remains visible in neolithic stone circles through to traditional arts and crafts. People make a place, so we will ensure that the region’s rich history of art and literature, industry and rebellion, and innovation in tourism and outdoor pursuits are present throughout our work.

This is just a snapshot, and we are still building our plans, using your responses as inspiration and context for our priorities.

The Lake District Foundation does not receive statutory funding, we rely on donations, and successful trust and grant applications.

If you want to see these plans in action, we need your support.

Will you help to protect the Lake District by making a donation today?

Donate online at https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/donate-to-help-to-care-for-the-lake-district/ or sending a cheque made out to ‘Lake District Foundation’ to Wayfaring House, Murley Moss Business Park, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 7R


Thank you <3

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Pardoe sets new World Record for Windermere swim

On Saturday 2 September Team GB Olympian Hector Pardoe became the fastest man to swim the length of Windermere.

As well as smashing world records, Pardoe is raising money for the Lake District Foundation, backing our Cleaner Lakes campaigns.

The 26-year-old who grew up in Shropshire, completed the iconic 10.5-mile (16.8km) swim, from Fellfoot to Waterhead, in 3 hours, 40 minutes and 28 seconds. Pardoe’s time beat the previous record by nearly 8 minutes. Last set in 1997, the association senior men’s record was held by former Britain international Justin Palfrey at 3:48:04.

Speaking to our team ahead of his swim, Pardoe said:

“Having visited the Lake District for many years now, I’ve become increasingly passionate about preserving its beauty. The serene lakes and lush landscapes have not only provided me with a sense of tranquility but have also underscored the importance of protecting our natural resources.

Witnessing the detrimental effects of polluted water on my international races, most recently with the cancellation of the Paris Olympic test event in the river Seine, has heightened my dedication to environmental advocacy”.

Not content to hold a single record, Pardoe has already identified his next challenge; he aims to swim the English Channel.

Inspired? You can support Pardoe’s fundraising campaign here and find out more about our Cleaner Lakes campaigns here.

We’re looking to the future and need your ideas!

For the next 5 weeks, we’re celebrating our success while thinking about the future as we begin putting together our new 5-year plan. 

We’re asking Lake District lovers what our priorities should be for the next 5 years.

The 5 weeks of reflection and celebration will include big prize giveaways and a tea party featuring some of the biggest names from the adventure world. 

The Lake District Foundation was set up to inspire businesses, visitors and policymakers to support projects to improve and protect the Lake District’s environmental and cultural heritage. Since 2017, our charity has raised and invested over £1.5 million into the region. Our grant-supported projects have planted over 30,000 trees and reduced the carbon emissions of 58 local businesses by more than 500 metric tons annually. 

Celebrations began on 12th September with the charity’s ambassadors gathering at the Langdale Hotel to share a giant Grasmere Gingerbread number 5, as we begin setting goals for the next 5 years. The Langdale Hotel and the Grasmere Gingerbread Company are some of the our top business supporters, raising thousands of pounds to support numerous projects. 

The Foundation’s four ambassadors came together to share the charity’s special celebration. Ultimate adventure man Sean Conway is freshly recovered from a record-breaking 105 back-to-back full Iron distance triathlons, completed this summer. Dr Kate Rawles is an environmental philosopher, writer and eco-adventurer. Her most recent challenge saw her cycle from Colombia to Cape Horn on a bamboo bike, while exploring biodiversity. Business ambassador Lee Paton is a bespoke couturier who created the first Couture fashion house in Cumbria.  

Sean, Kate and Lee were joined by newly appointed ambassador Harrison Ward, better known as Fell Foodie. Known for cooking spectacular recipes from simple outdoor kitchens in the Lakeland fells, Ward’s debut book Cook Out will be released in October 2023.  

As he officially began his new role as Ambassador, Harrison Ward said: “The Lake District has been a hugely powerful place for me, both mentally and physically. I’m from just down the road, near Carlisle, so being part of the future of this area and how it moves forward for the people who live here is really important to me. I’m a big advocate that the Lake District is for everyone, the outdoors is so powerful. I’m looking forward to working together.”

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive at the Lake District Foundation said: “This is a wonderful chance to reflect on and celebrate everything we’ve achieved since the charity was established. It’s also an opportunity to look ahead and ask where we need to be in five years’ time? What are the most important issues facing the Lake District and Cumbria? The Lake District Foundation will continue to innovate solutions to the challenges we encounter. We continue to find inspiration in this magnificent place and the people who care about it, who help to steer the direction of the Foundation.” 

The Langdale tea party kick-starts celebrations which will continue with 5-weeks of celebrations, from 18th September – 27th October and including prize giveaways and the announcement of a new grant fund. Follow our social media and take part in online activities for the chances to win great prizes including afternoon tea for four, a glamping break, family days out, cinema vouchers and much more.  

We want to hear from everyone who loves the Lake District.

Contribute your ideas at lakedistrictfoundation.org/share-your-thoughts 

Double amputee, 8-year old Tony to climb Orrest Head

Tony Hudgell

An heroic eight-year-old boy, who is a double amputee, will be raising money for Lake District Foundation as part of his next challenge, to summit a Lake District fell.

Pride of Britain winner Tony Hudgell has set himself another awe-inspiring challenge ‘Summits up for Tony’, with his hike up Orrest Head, taking place on Tuesday 8th August.

His latest epic challenge follows on from the fundraising efforts of 2020 when, at just five, Tony raised more than a million pounds for The Evelina Children’s Hospital. The hospital saved Tony’s life when he was brought in aged just six weeks old with severe injuries inflicted by his birth parents, which resulted in multiple fractures, dislocations and eventually led to both Tony’s legs being amputated.

Tony’s latest adventure will raise funds for the Fix the Fells project, through the Lake District Foundation. As well as for the Bendrigg Trust, Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Tony Hudgell Foundation.

Fix the Fells is a partnership programme that aims to prevent loss of grass and soil on Lakeland hills, by designing and creating paths that are resilient to wear and tear, reducing the impact on the surrounding landscape.

As the first fell summited by Alfred Wainwright in his first visit to the Lake District in 1930, Orrest Head provides an appropriate challenge for Tony’s first climb and for his indomitable spirit to conquer.

Grasmere’s The Swan will become ‘expedition headquarters’ in early August, hosting the young fundraiser and his family for the duration of his attempt to summit Orrest Head.

Tony’s £509 target has been smashed within the first week of fundraising, with The Inn Collection Group donating the target value itself and £2414 already pledged, at the time of writing.

Donations can be made in support of the Summit’s Up for Tony challenge by visiting https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/gotonygo

Visit Our Pre-loved Pop-Up at Great North Swim

Find our ‘Pre-Loved Pop Up’ stand at this year’s Arla Great North Swim weekend! (June 9-11)

In partnership with the Great North Swim, we will have a variety of second-hand outdoor clothing and items for sale at the stand.

The Great North Swim sees amazing swim events take place throughout the weekend starting from Brockhole-on-Windermere.

All proceeds will go towards the Lake District Foundation helping us to look after this spectacular place.

But we need your help to make this pop up a success. If you have any old gear, be it old wetsuits, down jackets, goggles, backpacks etc that you no longer use, you can drop them off at Brockhole, Lake District Visitor centre before the event!

The team there will accept items from Monday to Saturday, alternatively you can also drop them on the day of the event at the Lake District Foundation stand.

Donations doubled for Fix the Fells for next 7 days

A Fix the Fells volunteer lifting rocks on the mountain side in the lake district

All donations to Fix The Fells over the next seven days will be doubled.

See your money go twice as far as Fix The Fells benefits from this week’s Big Give Green Match Fund.

The fundraiser runs from noon Thursday 20 April until noon Thursday 27 April.

All donations up to a grand total of £5000 will be doubled.


A team of Fix the Fells volunteers working on the mountain

The Lake District fells are enjoyed by millions of walkers every year but the high level paths can be surprisingly fragile and the sheer number of visitors leave a mark on the landscape.

Fix the Fells needs £500k each year to enable it to carry on its vital work repairing footpaths in a World Heritage Site.

Make your money go further this week and help restore the Lake District’s upland footpaths.

The Big Give Match Fund will DOUBLE your donation so you can DOUBLE your impact for a week of green giving.

Isabel Berry, Fix The Fells Partnership Manager said: “The work of Fix the Fells has never been more vital.

“The combined impacts of the climate crisis, footfall and the fragility of our upland environments means that action to repair and protect fell paths and their surrounds from erosion is critical to ensuring the long term health and resilience of the beautiful Lake District fells for all to enjoy and cherish.

“Your donation will help us deliver essential path work this year and we are immensely grateful for your support.”

Fix the Fells is a partnership programme between the Lake District National Park, National Trust, Natural England, Lake District Foundation, Friends of the Lake District and Cumbria County Council to repair erosion scars which have developed over the years, and to make sure that these scars are prevented in the future.


Help assess impact of Woodland Futures project

The Lake District Foundation has an opportunity for a consultant to assess the impact of its Woodland Futures project.

Working in partnership with Cumbria Woodlands, we were awarded funding from the Trees Call to Action Fund.

It aims to increase woodland creation and bring existing woodlands into management to ensure they have a bright future and benefit local communities, economies and the environment.

Woodland Futures will run for three years until March 2025.

It is one of 12 programmes nationwide that has a share of the £6 million Trees Call to Action Fund, led by Defra, the Forestry Commission and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The first year is now complete and The Lake District Foundation seeks an independent evaluation of the programme with periodic feedback to allow continuous improvement.

The evaluation will draw on project management information, project outputs and interviews with key project stakeholders.

How to tender for Evaluation Report

The Tender brief is here.

Deadline for Tender expressions of interest is 30 June 2023.

Cumbrian businesses win £1m low carbon funding

Fifty-eight Cumbrian businesses have received grants totaling almost £1m to reduce their carbon footprint.

They have benefitted from the Low Carbon Lake District Fund administered by The Lake District Foundation.

Over three years the fund has supported small to medium-sized businesses across the length of the Lake District including village shops, hotels, community-owned pubs, cinemas, breweries and arts venues.

They have received funding for everything from electric vehicle charging points, LED lighting, air source heat pumps, solar panels, and more environmentally friendly appliances.

It is estimated that resulting carbon savings of all these projects amounts to more than 400 metric tons.

One of the successful applicants is Rebel Gelato – a plant-based ice cream company set up last year and based in Kendal.

Fiona Quinn from Rebel Gelato

Fiona Quinn from the company said: “The grant has been invaluable in enabling us to buy energy efficient equipment from day one. We started our plant-based gelato business in June 2022 and were able to utilise highly energy efficient freezers – a core aspect of the business.

“We were keen to be as sustainable as possible and we wouldn’t have been able to make this kind of investment in energy efficient equipment without the grant.”

Another of the successful applicants – the 108-year-old Keswick Alhambra Cinema – received funding for 30 solar panels.

The £14,000 award from the Low Carbon Fund covered around 40% of the installation cost.

Keswick Alhambra has new solar panels

Carol Rennie, co-owner of the cinema said: “We’re so grateful for the Low Carbon Lake District Fund. The solar panels will generate around a third of the cinema’s electricity needs and reduce our CO2 input considerably.”

The Victorian House Hotel in Grasmere (pictured below) also benefits from solar panels.

Serena von der Heyde, Victorian House owner said: “A huge part of our carbon footprint is the energy we consume. Our new solar panels are up and running and contributing renewable energy to the electricity that we use. This is a massive step forward for us and we could never have afforded the initial investment without the grant support from the Lake District Foundation.

“It has been a game changer – accelerating our progress towards becoming a carbon neutral business.”

Qualifying groups and businesses were awarded up to 60% of project costs, with all projects completed by spring 2023.

Crosby Granger Architects

Crosby Granger Architects will get solar panels at their Low Fellside base.

Chris Granger, Director Architect from the company said: “With so much uncertainty around energy costs, this funding stream allowed us to make pro-active steps at reducing our day to day running costs while also doing our bit to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation said: “We are delighted to support more than 90 businesses across the Lake District with their fantastic projects that all designed to reduce carbon emissions.

“This comprehensive programme to help tackle climate change in the National Park has been a big success. It has been great to see local businesses and communities working to reduce greenhouse gases and prepare for the impacts of climate change”.

Delivered by The Lake District Foundation, the Low Carbon Lake District Fund is led by the Lake District National Park Authority, other key partners include the National Trust, South Lakeland District Council (now Westmorland and Furness Council) and Cumbria Tourism. The Fund is supported by the European Structural Investment Fund.

“The best start in forestry I could’ve had…”

A graduate forester has reflected on his one year working in woodlands at Thirlmere.

Bryce Flannaghan has been taking his first steps in forestry during a 12 month placement.

He has been employed by the Lake District Foundation and managed by Cumbria Woodlands.

As part of his learning Bryce worked alongside United Utilities staff making lasting improvements to woodlands around the reservoir at Thirlmere.

His role was created as part of a partnership between Cumbria Woodlands, United Utilities and the Lake District Foundation, who secured Green Recovery Challenge Funding generously provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Bryce’s work focused on the restoration of plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) to their former natural condition throughout Thirlmere Valley.

The aim was to increase overall biodiversity, mitigate the effects of extreme weather events and climate change, as well as improving water quality of Thirlmere which supplies water throughout the Northwest.

Bryce said: “My responsibility has been the planning and implementation of this woodland restoration to to improve and protect these unique habitats so future generations can benefit from them.

“I have had a fantastic year. Cumbria Woodlands has been great to work with and really pushed my professional development. I’m grateful to them and The Lake District Foundation for funding the whole project.

“I’m also grateful to United Utilities for letting me work in their woodlands to try and restore it to what it was.”

Reflecting on his year as Graduate Forester, Bryce said: “It’s the best start in forestry I could’ve had. It’s a life-long career for me…”

We went out to see Bryce to find out more about his work…

Five Cumbria hedge schemes awarded funding

The Lake District Foundation is supporting five organisations with funding to plant new hedges and trees.

We have allocated £10k through our Real Hedge Fund which helps create and restore hedgerows and trees across the county.

More than 1000 meters of hedgerow has already been planted in two previous rounds of funding.

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation, said: “We have been raising funds for several years specifically designed to help restore Cumbria’s under-threat hedgerows.

“Nineteen hedge projects have received funding over the last two years and the latest round of support sees five fantastic initiatives receive backing.”

Among them is Long Marton Primary School – outside Appleby – which receives £1300 towards a new hedge which will encourage wildlife.

Headteacher Rachel Smith said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant and will use it to plant a native hedgerow along the perimeter of our school grounds.

“We will also sow a wildlife meadow in front of the hedge with seed donated by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Wildlife and environmental conservation is very important to us and we are very committed to Outdoor Learning.”

Long Marton School

Other projects supported include:

  • Ulverston Ford Park Community Group Ford Park will receive £2500 to add hedgerows to improve biodiversity.
  • Friends of Dubwath Silver Meadows will receive £1800 to extend an existing hedgerow near a wetland nature reserve.
  • New hedge schemes at Greystoke and Mire Head, Grayrigg.

The Real Hedge Fund aims to highlight the importance of hedgerows and trees in the environment and their role within the cultural and natural heritage of the Lake District.

Hedgerows are unsung biodiversity heroes, as well as connecting habitats, protecting against pollution and helping fight climate change, they provide a home for 80% of our woodland birds, hedgehogs, most species of bat, the great crested newt, dormice and butterflies.

The Lake District Foundation launched the Real Hedge Fund in June 2020 in partnership with Ullswater Catchment Management CIC, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and Eden Rivers Trust.

New ultra event raises funds for the Lake District

An epic ultra marathon event in the stunning landscape of the Lake District National Park gets underway for the first time this autumn.

The 13 Valleys Ultra takes place between 29 September to 1 October 2023 and sees entrants running and raising funds at the same time.

Organised by the Great Run Company this new event features three ultra distances – 60km, 100km and 180km – and a 20km trail distance, each promising spectacular trail and mountain running over the fells.

What is even better is that 5% of each competitor entry fee will go to The Lake District Foundation helping us to look after this stunning place.

We speak to Race Director Colin Murphy to find out more.

Race Director Colin Murphy

What inspired you to create the 13 Valleys challenge?

Having visited the Lakes since I was a child I had enjoyed many day walks and a few overnighters. However there weren’t any routes similar to the alpine walking holidays I had also enjoyed. The chance to work with Lake District National Park to develop not only an event, but a trail that would be there for years to come was really exciting.

The vision was to give a platform for people of all ages and level of fitness to share the same route and experience, be that as an ultra-runner or as a family holiday – all the while sharing the benefits of tourism with all corners of the Park.

What is your involvement in the event?

As the Event Director for the Great North Swim the challenge was to come up with a world class event, that had a real reason to exist. My role with the 13 valleys ultra is identify a route and a team to safely introduce runners to the trail and ultra running.

How did you get involved in the Great Run company?

I have been at the Great Run Company for 15 years. I was always keen to work in the sports industry and have been lucky enough to manage elite and mass events all over the UK, from athletics in Horse Guards Parade in London, to managing 60,000 finishers at the Great North Run, there is never a dull day.

Why is the Lake District such a great place for this event?

The Lake District has so much to offer, and a lot of visitors don’t really scratch the surface. The unique landscape of each of the valleys, and the cultures and stories each valley holds, provide such exciting opportunities for future visitors.

Tell us about the different levels of events.

The 13 Valleys Ultra is the headline event. Exploring the whole park and offering the most extreme challenge, it is only for the most seasoned ultra athlete. With 180k to run, and over 7000m of ascent it is up there with some of the toughest challenges in the world.

At the other end of the spectrum we have a 20km two Valley Trail. We recognise that to some none trail-runners, this will seem almost as daunting. We want to provide the platform for new runners, or those who haven’t been confident to start their off-road journey, to feel confident in taking on their first trail challenge. This fully waymarked and supported event will share some of the same trail as the 13 Valleys event and give a flavour of what running in this landscape is all about.

Picture by Steve Ashworth

We then have two further Ultra distances – the 100km ‘7 Valleys Ultra’ and 60km ‘5 Valleys Ultra’ are there for anyone who is up for a challenge!

The 5 valleys is an ideal first ultra, being fully waymarked, GPS tracked and supported through well stocked feed stations. The 7 Valleys is for those who are a bit more experienced, and want to test themselves in some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable.

The step up will require not only increased fitness but also navigation skills, as the first 40km will be self navigated, before they join the waymarked 5 valleys route to the finish.

Why is it important to raise funds for The Lake District Foundation?

We benefit enormously from the landscape in the Lake District National Park – be that the breaking a sweat during a day on the fells, or soothing the soul admiring the view across one of the lakes.

It’s easy to think that such a perfect landscape takes care of itself, when the reality is very different. Donating part of the entry to The Lake District Foundation not only gives the charity much needed funds to help its mission to maintain that landscape, but it also reminds us all of the very real impact we have on the environment around us.

As we encourage people to explore all 13 Valleys, we want them to remember to respect the landscape, and help to leave it as they find it to allow many more people to benefit in the future.

What is it like to launch an event like this for the first time?

Exciting, and daunting, in equal measure. The scale of the route means that logistics are complicated, with medical and contingency planning not a small task. However the thought that this event will come to life, and give birth to a legacy trail is incredibly motivating. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Enter the 13 Valleys Ultra

5% of each competitor entry goes towards The Lake District Foundation.

Find out more and enter the 13 Valleys Ultra here:

13 Valleys Ultra | An epic event in the Lake District National Park

Hotels lend support to Windermere Big Give

With your support we were delighted to raise more than £23000 for community projects that look after Windermere.

Before Christmas we asked for your backing with our week-long Big Give fundraiser.

A total of £23865 was raised and will go towards community projects that contribute to the health of England’s largest lake.

We received dozens of individual online donations and several Lake District businesses gave substantial donations including Burn How Garden House Hotel, Langdale, and Cedar Manor.

Money was raised through visitor giving – with hotel guests making a small donation to look after the Lake District.

Caroline and Jonathan Kaye from Cedar Manor, said: “It’s fantastic to giving something back to the community that we live and work in. It’s important for us to get the message over to guests about conservation and protection of the landscape and share information about the Foundation and its work.”

A spokesperson for Langdale said: “Langdale and all our guests are proud to continue to support the Lake District Foundation. Operating in the Lake District brings with it a responsibility to look after the environment and special landscape that is so important to our visitors and our communities.”

The Lake District Foundation is a member of the Love Windermere Partnership which was launched in summer 2022 with the aim of improving water quality.

The money raised during the Big Give will help deliver a range of activities to increase awareness and knowledge of phosphate pollution, work with local residents, businesses, lake users and visitors to tackle the issue – for example providing education around septic tank use – in order to improve the health of the lake and its habitats.

Donations doubled to help Windermere

Windermere is England’s largest lake – a much loved and iconic feature of the Lake District.

The Lake District Foundation wants to launch community projects that all contribute to the health of the lake and improve water quality.

From noon on Tuesday 29 November to noon Tuesday 6 December we are taking part in the week-long national Big Give Christmas Challenge.

All donations you make over the next seven days will be doubled.

Donate: here

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive, Lake District Foundation, said: “We know there are some concerns around the health of the lake – particularly around water quality.

“Our project will deliver a range of community activities with the aim of improving water quality in Windermere, with a particular focus on reducing phosphate levels in the lake.

“What’s really exciting is that all donations this week will be doubled in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.”

The Lake District Foundation will deliver a range of activities to increase awareness and knowledge of phosphate pollution, work with local residents, businesses, lake users and visitors to tackle the issue – for example providing education around septic tank use – in order to improve the health of the lake and its habitats.

There are some great projects getting planned to work to improve water quality as part of the Love Windermere Partnership which was launched in summer 2022.

“Coniston combines tranquility and beauty to encourage quiet reflection”

A walking route around Coniston pays tribute to victims and survivors of child abuse.

Messages of hope have been inscribed on plaques on benches and signposts at Monk Coniston.

The route, at the north end of the lake, is one of dozens of locations across England and Wales chosen as part of a legacy project.

In October 2022 the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published 19 reports covering a wide range of institutions.

These reports will shape recommendations to better protect children in the future.

IICSA’s legacy project pays tribute to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and ensure their voices continue to be heard.

Across England and Wales more than 150 memorial benches now bear messages of hope from victims and survivors.

People who use the Monk Coniston Miles Without Stiles route will come across the messages on more than a dozen benches and signposts along the 3.5km route.

We spoke to the IICSA Legacy Project Team to find out more…

Tell us about this IICSA Legacy project.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse designed its legacy project in consultation with victims and survivors, many of whom said they would like there to be a physical tribute for people to visit. Rather than confine this to a monument in one or two major cities, memorial benches and plaques have been placed across England and Wales. This reflects the widespread engagement with the Inquiry by victims and survivors from all areas of both countries.

Why are you are doing this?

Child sexual abuse has been hidden and its terrible consequences buried, for too long.

The legacy project pays tribute to all victims and survivors and hopes to drive cultural change and ensure the vital public conversation around child sexual abuse continues beyond the lifetime of the Inquiry.

The messages on the plaques are the words of different individuals who engaged with the Inquiry, and will ensure the voices of victims and survivors continue to be heard, so that children may be better protected in the future.

You have put plaques of hope on benches across the UK – why is Coniston one of the routes chosen?

There are more than 150 benches and plaques across England and Wales. To make the project accessible to as many people as possible, we wanted to achieve a good geographical spread over both countries, in a mix of scenic rural locations and busier urban areas.

As one of the best-known places in the hugely popular Lake District, Coniston combines tranquility and beauty to encourage quiet reflection, as well as high footfall.

What do you hope people will get from reading the plaques?

We hope that more open and honest conversations about the difficult topic of child sexual abuse will continue, as this will help to keep children safer.

We also want acknowledgement for victims and survivors and the impacts they live with as a result of their experiences of abuse. Along with the personal messages from them, the address and a QR code for the legacy website appear on the plaques.

The website legacy.iicsa.org.uk will remain after the Inquiry has concluded, to provide information about its work and details of support services for victims and survivors.

It also includes a bench locator tool which will allow people to find their nearest bench or plaque.

Who can use Monk Coniston route?

Everyone! It is classed as a Miles Without Styles route which means it is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. It is family friendly for prams, buggies. People don’t have to take the whole route – they can just do sections if they want.

Where is it exactly? 

Starting from Monk Coniston Car Park the route takes in views of the lake and of the fells including Coniston Old Man. Coniston is home to lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Address: Monk Coniston Car Park, Postcode: LA21 8AH. Grid reference: SD 316978
W3W: ///spectacle.turns.watch

There are toilets at Monk Coniston Car Park.

More information: Miles Without Stiles 16: Monk Coniston : Lake District National Park

Japanese students focus on sustainability

Students from Japan visited the Lake District looking at sustainability in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Lake District Foundation partnered with Hidden Lakeland to arrange the ten-day study programme.

Nine undergraduate students on the University of Tokyo’s Global Education for Innovation and Leadership programme stayed in Ambleside and Kendal to gain better understanding of the opportunities and difficulties presented by sustainable tourism in the Lake District National Park.

The students stayed in the heart of the Lake District at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus. Most of the learning was delivered outdoors with a mix of sessions indoors.

This included presentations from representatives of Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District National Park Authority and World Heritage UK.

The group enjoyed walk-and-talk tours and got across the Lake District including Ambleside to Dove Cottage via Rydal Hall and the Coffin Trail.

They enjoyed a workshop hosted by Wordsworth, Grasmere, looking at William Wordsworth’s legacy for the Lakes as a place to visit.

They also met with Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive of the Lake District Foundation, received an insight into woodlands management by Cumbria Woodlands and met farmers working the land.

Tracey Gannon from Hidden Lakeland said: “It was a packed ten days with content, mostly outdoors, delivered by many people who have a passion for the Lake District and its future. Feedback from the students suggests that they found the experience very valuable.”

One student said: “It was very useful to hear from lecturers from different perspectives how things are seen and in what sense sustainability is important, depending on one’s position and principles. In addition, by actually visiting farms and climbing mountains, I was able to experience first-hand the beauty of the landscape and think about the importance of protecting it as my own personal matter.”

Funding available for tree and hedge schemes in Cumbria

The Lake District Foundation is inviting organisations to apply for funding to plant new hedges and trees.

The move comes during National Hedgerow Week (October 10-17th 2022).

Up to £2500 is available through the Real Hedge Fund for groups who wish to reinstate native hedgerows or restore existing ones. The Foundation is asking for applications of up to 100 metres of planting.

This is the third round of funding and dozens of applicants have already benefitted and have been busy planting.

The Real Hedge Fund aims to highlight the importance of hedgerows and trees in the environment and their role within the cultural and natural heritage of the Lake District.

More than 1000 meters of hedgerow has already been planted. The Real Hedge Fund is only open to SMEs businesses, small charities and community groups operating in Cumbria.

Hedgerows are unsung biodiversity heroes, as well as connecting habitats, protecting against pollution and helping fight climate change, they provide a home for 80% of our woodland birds, hedgehogs, most species of bat, the great crested newt, dormice and butterflies.

People can apply to the Real Hedge Fund here.

The closing date for applications has been extended to 5pm Wednesday 23 November 2022.

People can support the Lake District Foundation’s ongoing campaign to support hedgerows and new tree planting here.

The Lake District Foundation launched the Real Hedge Fund in June 2020 in partnership with Ullswater Catchment Management CIC, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust and Eden Rivers Trust.

Grants for septic tank schemes

Grants are available for homes, businesses and farms in and around Windermere to form community septic tank emptying schemes.

Love Windermere information packs are going to 1900 properties and businesses across Windermere in the coming weeks with advice on how to maintain septic tanks and in-turn, keep the lake healthy.

The move is part of the Love Windermere Partnership which was launched in the summer with the biggest ever cooperation of stakeholders to tackle challenges in the lake.

The Lake District Foundation is working with the Environment Agency to help prevent pollution in Windermere caused by poorly maintained non-mains drainage systems.

Better maintenance of septic tanks could contribute to better water quality at Windermere and significantly reduce septic tank maintenance costs.

Sarah Swindley, Lake District Foundation Chief Executive, said: “We all want water quality to be the best it can be for all to enjoy.

“We are trialling a new project where people can save time and money by joining a community emptying scheme. We have grants available to help communities come together to have tanks emptied at the same time.

“This is a really exciting move which has never been attempted before in Windermere and we are keen to work with the community to make a positive impact on this wonderful place.”

A digital version of the pack can be viewed here. 

Around £8000 is available in total for neighbours to set up community emptying schemes. Septic tank owners can register interest in community collection schemes here: www.callofnature.info/windermereproperty-pack-feedback/ 

The Love Windermere Partnership was launched in July 2022. The partnership is developing a science-based plan to set out a road map for environmental protection that could be replicated across the UK.

Led by the Environment Agency, the partnership includes the Freshwater Biological Association; Lake District Foundation; Lake District National Park Authority; National Farmers Union; National Trust; South Cumbria Rivers Trust, South Lakeland District Council, United Utilities, and Cumbria LEP.

You can support water quality projects in the Lake District by donating to the Lake District Foundation Water Fund today. Visit www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/current-campaigns/cleaner-lakes to donate. Or you can text “LAKE” to 70450 to donate £5 or text Lake10 to donate £10. Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message.

Top Tips for looking after septic tanks:

• Check the condition and regularly empty septic tank systems.
• Check and empty holding tanks on boats to prevent pollution.
• Use phosphate-free cleaning products.
• Join a community septic tank emptying scheme.
• Reduce fertiliser on lawns, gardens and farmland that can ultimately end up in the lake – and pay attention to the forecast – don’t spread if it’s going to rain.
• Support your local river trusts and wildlife groups.

In the home:

• Only use cleaners and detergents that are suitable for septic tanks and are phosphate free. A few minutes spent looking at labels will reward you in the long term.
• Please avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals as these will kill off the working bacteria in your tank.
• Flushed with success: Keep it simple when it comes to your toilet and only flush the 3 P’s – pee, poo and (toilet) paper. Never flush cleaning wipes, wet wipes, facial wipes, cotton buds, sanitary products, nappies or condoms.
• Sink savvy: Don’t pour food waste and cooking oils down your sink and as with your toilet don’t use harsh chemicals or bleach.

Benches to bear messages of hope

Messages of hope from child sexual abuse survivors will be inscribed on plaques on benches in a part of the Lake District.

Benches and plaques across England and Wales will soon bear the messages as part of a landmark Legacy Project by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Benches and plaques are set to be placed at up to 200 locations around both countries – including at one location in Cumbria. The uplifting messages have been gathered directly from victims and survivors who have taken part in the Inquiry’s Truth Project.

Each message has been chosen for reflection or to spark conversation, assuring victims and survivors they have been, and will continue to be, heard.

The Lake District Foundation is working with IICSA and Lake District National Park on the plaque project and will release more details in the coming months.

More information on the wider project and inquiry here

“This award is recognition of the hard work over the last 20 years”

For more than two decades Fix the Fells has been looking after and repairing remote upland paths across the Lake District.

The work takes place in stunning locations sometimes in the harshest conditions. Twenty three rangers and 110 volunteers contributed over 2,200 days to fixing footpaths last year.

Now their efforts have been recognised with a prestigious Park Protector Award from the Campaign for National Parks.

We spoke to Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells Programme Manager, about this vital programme and its impact on this World Heritage Site.

Tell us about the work of Fix the Fells

“Fix the Fells repairs, maintains and monitors hundreds of miles of upland paths in the Lake District National Park to protect the stunning scenery and precious environment.

“It has been operating for over 20 years because it was realised in the 1980s that enormous erosion scars were developing in the fells which threatened the beauty and nature of the area.

“Fix the Fells works to repair erosion damage caused by recreation and rainfall, both of which are increasing as more people visit the area and climate change causes more frequent storms.

“The work is carried out mostly by hand by teams of skilled rangers and an army of over 100 dedicated volunteers who work outside in the fells in all weathers. Stabilising erosion and creating sustainable paths is necessary to prevent vegetation, soil and stone being lost and washed into rivers and lakes below.

“The work is essential to protect and restore the World Heritage Site with its internationally designated landscape, habitats, species, history and culture.

“It is hard to imagine what the Lake District would look like today without the work of Fix the Fells.”

Before and after at Redacre Ghyll

Where is Fix the Fells up to at the moment?

“The rangers and volunteers are at work all across the Lake District repairing erosion and maintaining paths, for example around Coniston, Grasmere, Ambleside, Keswick and in the Ullswater, Langdale, Buttermere and Wasdale valleys.

“Full-time rangers carry out the large erosion repair projects and volunteers are active most days of the week undertaking smaller repair projects and also maintaining and monitoring hundreds of paths to keep them in good condition.”

Which are the biggest or most interesting projects currently?

“We’re always at work on the main routes up Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, which attracts hundreds of thousands of walkers to its summit every year.

“Other extremely popular mountains include Helvellyn, Coniston Old Man and Skiddaw, where we’re undertaking erosion control work to prevent large scars developing on the landscape.

“Long distance walks such as the Coast to Coast attract visitors from all over the world, who come to enjoy the Lake District scenery, and we’re repairing erosion on several sections of the route, for example as it passes from Borrowdale to Grasmere.”

What does the recent award mean to Fix the Fells?

“We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive the Campaign for National Parks – Park Protector Award.

Joanne (right) with Annie Duckworth (Fix The Fells Ranger at Lake District National Park).

“It is a fantastic recognition of all the hard work of the many rangers and volunteers within Fix the Fells over the last 20 years, who have committed so much to looking after the Lake District’s upland paths and landscape, for us all to enjoy.

How can people help Fix the Fells?

“People can help by sticking to the path surface (not walking along the fragile edges), wearing the appropriate footwear (which can cope with a bit of mud and water), volunteering with us, and most importantly, donating to Fix the Fells to help look after this stunning scenery and precious wildlife for us all for the future”.

The Fix the Fells partnership is made up of National Trust, Lake District National Park Authority, Friends of the Lake District, Natural England and Lake District Foundation.

Donate here: Donate Fix the Fells – Lake District Foundation

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