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 available for Windermere 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 of rangers and volunteers 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

“Love Windermere” – new era for lake

A group of organisations from across Cumbria has come together in partnership to ensure that Windermere gets the focus it needs to face a challenging future.

Nutrients, climate change, more extreme weather patterns and the seasonal variations of the tourist population are all predicted to put the lake and its water quality under increasing pressure in the coming years.

Long-term records show that over that last 70 years the average annual surface temperature of Windermere has increased by 1.7 degrees C, leading to conditions that favour the growth of algae and reduce levels of oxygen.

The Love Windermere partnership has members from a broad range of sectors with the range of expertise and influence needed to bring about action.

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

Sarah Swindley, CEO of the Lake District Foundation, said: “Our job at the LDF is to inspire people to care for all aspects of the Lake District. It’s only by working in partnership that we can ensure that beautiful Windermere can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Lake District National Park Authority’s Chief Executive, Richard Leafe, said: “Windermere plays a key role in the lives of communities and visitors to the National Park, so it’s vital we work together with partners to improve the health of the lake.

Love Windermere is set to be the most ambitious environmental partnership to date and we’re proud to take part. From individual action on septic tanks to working with land managers and the utility company, the programme will combine expertise with new data to tackle the current challenges and bring long-term benefits to everyone who enjoys Windermere and the National Park beyond.”

The group is developing evidence-based, long-term plans to maintain and improve water quality in the lake while balancing the needs of nature, the community and the local economy.

One of the first aims of Love Windermere is to collate more scientific evidence to understand which solutions will be most effective and to help prioritise activity.

Actions are also taking place to understand what local people think. The Environment Agency recently hosted a citizens’ panel to engage with the community and raise awareness of the challenges affecting the lake.  More than 20 residents got involved and gave their recommendations on where they want to see action start.

“Love Your Lake – The Big Windermere Survey”, took place on Sunday 26 June, with 100 volunteers sampling water at various points around the lake and its tributaries. The results will help experts at Lancaster University and the Freshwater Biological Association to produce the largest ever one-day snapshot of conditions in Windermere.

Other activities this summer include:

  • South Cumbria Rivers Trust is working with volunteers to restore reed beds around the north of the lake, encouraging natural processes to remove nutrients from the lake sediment.
  • The Lake District Foundation is working with owners of septic tanks to develop community emptying schemes and share tips about how to best manage private sewerage systems
  • United Utilities is working with food outlets and restaurants in and around Windermere with tips to avoid constricting sewers with fatty waste which can lead to sewage spilling into the environment.
  • South Cumbria Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency are trialling innovative technology that if successful could be used to remove nutrients from septic tank effluent at a relatively low cost.
  • The Environment Agency will take samples and monitor water quality at four bathing water locations on Windermere until the end of the bathing water season in September, while farm inspections across the catchment will continue to focus on reducing diffuse pollution.

The work to improve Windermere will be a long-term challenge, and there is still much to learn about the complex issues affecting the lake.

However, it is hoped that the collaborative approach demonstrated through Love Windermere could set out a blueprint for improving the health of rivers and lakes across the UK.

Help us understand Forest Futures impact

The Lake District Foundation is looking for a consultant to evaluate the impact of our Forest Futures project. 

Working in partnership with Cumbria Woodlands, we were awarded funding to continue and develop the restoration of ecologically important woodlands in the Thirlmere Valley, Cumbria.

Funding came from The Green Recovery Challenge Fund and is being delivered over 18 months (ending in March 2023).

Forest Futures is restoring woodlands and growing skills. The project carries out vital restoration work on the ground at Thirlmere and provides advice on woodland creation and management to landowners / managers.

It also encourages and develops Graduate Foresters to take their first steps on their career pathway and to help deliver the Government’s bold targets around woodland creation. 

An independent evaluation of Forest Futures is needed to assess its initial impact, effectiveness of achieving intended goals, identify elements of best practice and highlight areas of challenge.

How to tender for Evaluation Report

The Tender brief is here. 

Deadline for Tender responses is 22 July 2022.

Funding secured to care for Windermere

The Lake District Foundation is delighted to have been awarded £73,000 for a long-term project to look after Windermere.

The funding has come from the Environment Agency’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund and will help to develop sustainable funding mechanisms to care for this special place.

Stretching 10.5 miles, Windermere is a gem of the Lake District.

It is under environmental pressure with pollution from a range of sources leading to increasing phosphorus levels and important habitats at risk of being lost or degraded.

The Lake District Foundation’s work will continue to arrest this decline and move to restore habitats under threat.

The Foundation will work with Windermere Stakeholder Forum partners including the Environment Agency and the Lake District National Park Authority, land managers and launch a community septic tank emptying scheme to improve water quality.

The project will also look to develop its own visitor-giving model which brings together large and small investors to help support the Windermere project long-term, to the benefit of nature, the economy and the community.

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding to help secure the future of Windermere.

“In partnership, we can build on the great work already started and ensure we have a long-term and sustainable approach to care for this beautiful and special place in our most-loved National Park.

“At the Lake District Foundation, we always work to find points of balance between nature, heritage, and our Cumbrian economy.

“We believe that by working respectfully together with all those who live in, work or visit the area, we can find the solutions. We will reveal more details of these exciting and much needed plans shortly.”

Woodlands in Cumbria receive £500k boost

A new conservation project will receive half a million pounds to increase woodland creation in Cumbria.

Woodland Futures is a partnership project being delivered by the Lake District Foundation and Cumbria Woodlands.

It will receive £499,800 from the Trees Call to Action Fund.

Woodland Futures is one of 12 taking place nationwide that has been awarded a grant from the £6 million Trees Call to Action Fund, led by Defra, the Forestry Commission and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Woodland Futures will run for three years until March 2025. It aims to increase woodland creation and bring existing woodlands into management to ensure they have a bright future.

The project will connect those that own and manage land. It will provide advice, information, training, and coordination between different organisations all with the goal of supporting woodlands across Cumbria.

Several new roles will be created. Staff will be employed by The Lake District Foundation and managed by Cumbria Woodlands.

The Trees Call to Action Fund supports projects which protect trees and woodlands, boost forestry skills and jobs, develop woodland creation partnerships, and engage communities with nature. The fund will distribute grants between £250,000-500,000 to be spent over three years, funding 12 projects across England.

Neville Elstone, Director Cumbria Woodlands, said: “This is a hugely exciting project. Cumbria Woodlands has been encouraging, supporting and advising landowners for over 30 years. Woodland Futures allows us to continue to do this vital work while engaging new audiences and helping to secure the future of woodlands in Cumbria.”

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation, said: “This funding is a fantastic boost to woodlands in Cumbria. Woodland Futures will develop partnerships with the common goal of protecting our woodlands and creating a better future for them.

“It also extremely timely as this new project comes off the back of severe winter storms which have damaged woodlands and hedgerows across Cumbria.”

The other projects funded through this year’s Trees Call to Action Fund include six new Woodland Creation Partnerships across rural and urban areas; two projects to develop the skills and workforce of the trees and forestry sector; and three projects which engage people, by planting an NHS forest, engaging farmers to improve woodland condition, and restoring England’s hedgerows.

All projects funded will support progress towards achieving the key objectives of the England Trees Action Plan – the Government’s long-term plans for England’s trees, woodlands and forests.

Find out more about Cumbria Woodlands.

Help us understand carbon scheme impact

A major £2.3m project to cut carbon in the Lake District is looking for a consultant to assess its impact.

The Low Carbon Lake District Fund is a comprehensive programme to help tackle climate change working in partnership with local businesses and communities.

Delivered by The Lake District Foundation, the Fund is led by the Lake District National Park Authority, other key partners include the National Trust, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Tourism.

The 47 projects funded so far include solar PV, air source heat pumps, insulation, LED lighting and energy management systems.

Embleton Spa Hotel (pictured above) received a food composter which is reducing waste going to landfill.

Rookhow Quaker Meeting House – a 300-year-old community facility in the Lyth Valley benefitted from an air source heat pump as part of its redevelopment and re-opening (pictured below).

The Low Carbon Lake District Fund opened for applications in April 2021 and will be completed by March 2023.

At the half-way point the Lake District Foundation seeks a consultant for an Evaluation Report.

The report would help us understand the impact of the project, identify areas for improvement, and articulate key outcomes that may be useful for further projects.

How to tender for Evaluation Report

The tender brief is here.

Find out more about the Low Carbon Lake District Fund

Deadline for Tender responses is 16 June.

Lakes Distillery makes splash with six water projects

Six community projects have received a funding splash to help them look after lakes and rivers across Cumbria.

The Lake District Foundation joined forces with The Lakes Distillery to launch a £25k funding pot for projects that enhance and conserve water quality.

Six projects across the county have now been selected to receive funding from The Lakes Distillery Water Fund.

Lake District Diving will get funding

Sarah Smith, Lake District Foundation Operations Manager, said: “We are delighted to partner with The Lakes Distillery to support six fantastic community-led projects in the Lake District. Each are different but are all designed to make a lasting improvements to water quality in our rivers and lakes.”

Nigel Mills, co-founder and CEO at The Lakes Distillery, said: “It is fantastic that we have an opportunity to support these community projects and to help them deliver against what are very important environmental aims.

“We look forward to seeing the projects get underway and our team at the distillery is also very excited to get directly involved by volunteering and helping to deliver some of these schemes.”

Clean River Kent Campaign will get funding

Isobel Stoddart is chair at The Clean River Kent Campaign which has been awarded £3250 from the fund.

She said: “We are delighted to receive funding to continue our volunteer monitoring work to help protect and preserve the ecology of the River Kent, as well as those that enjoy using it.

“This funding will enable us to get a much deeper understanding of the water quality along the length of our precious river.”

West Cumbria Rivers Trust

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund is one of several initiatives taking place this year across Cumbria to look after lakes and rivers.

Projects supported by Lakes Distillery Fund:

Organisation: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Project: Habitat restoration at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

Funding: £5000

Description: The work will involve reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity, creating habitats and slowing water flow into Naddles Beck protecting communities, streams, rivers and lakes further downstream.

Organisation: Lake District Diving

Project: Cleaning Up Litter Hidden in our Lakes and Rivers

Funding: £2000

Description: Working with community and volunteers to remove litter from lakes and rivers in the Lake District. Working mainly at Windermere but also Rydal, Grasmere, Derwentwater, Ullswater, River Kent, and mountain tarns.

Organisation: Spring to Sea

Project: The Becks of Ullswater – tackling micro plastic pollution

Funding: £4750

Description: Spring To Sea is a community interest group. It intends to clean any plastic pollution from the becks running into Ullswater with the help of local volunteers.

Organisation: Sustainability and Energy Network, Staveley

Project: Clean River Kent Campaign

Funding: £3250

Description: A community coalition from Staveley, Burneside and Kendal will apply for bathing water designation for two River Kent sites, to protect water-based recreational users from sewage health hazards and bring wildlife benefits.

Organisation: Lake District National Park Authority

Project: Bassenthwaite for all

Funding: £5000

Description: To support a two-year project focusing on Bassenthwaite Lake. Habitat management – willow coppicing and improving the lakeshore habitats, establishing a new volunteer group, working with new and existing audiences to raise awareness of biosecurity measures, holding litter picks.

Organisation: West Cumbria Rivers Trust

Project: Data for the Derwent

Funding: £5000

Project: Himalayan Balsam removal and fish surveys that inform future conservation work.

Let’s love lake Windermere

A week-long fundraiser to help care for Windermere is launched today (Friday 22 April).

The Lake District Foundation is taking part in the Big Give’s Green Match Fund – a nationwide fundraising drive which launches on Earth Day and runs until 29 April.

The Big Give raises money for environmental campaigns across the country which tackle climate change, protect species, eliminate waste and improve sustainability.

In Cumbria the Lake District Foundation wants to raise funds to deliver a range of community activities which care for Windermere. Donations will be match-funded to the tune of £10k.

Windermere is England’s largest lake. It is a nationally important place for wildlife and is also a valued space for recreation, relaxation and well-being attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation said: “We are delighted to take part in this week-long fundraising push. All donations during the Big Give will be doubled so it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise significant funds.

“Windermere is a much-loved and iconic part of the Lake District. We want to raise as much as we can during this week of activity and then distribute monies to community projects which look after and enhance this beautiful place.”

People can support the Big Give from 22-29 April.

The donation link goes live from noon on 22 April.

Warning over carbon monoxide danger

As Easter approaches visitors to Cumbria are reminded of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Lake District Foundation has sent safety posters to campsites as Cumbria prepares to welcome visitors.

You can’t see CO, taste it or smell it, but it can kill.

A key piece of advice is to never take a barbecue into a tent, awning, caravan or motor home. Even a cooling barbecue gives off poisonous carbon monoxide. Don’t cook inside your tent or awning. Always have gas appliances in your caravan or motor home serviced regularly.

There are around 60 deaths from accidental CO poisoning in England and Wales every year. Around 200 people are left seriously ill, while 4,000 people are treated in hospital.

A web page gives useful – and potentially life-saving – advice to campers and boaters: https://www.lakedistrictfoundation.org/carbon-monoxide/

Sarah Smith, from The Lake District Foundation said: “The Lake District and Cumbria is a haven for camping and boating, and it is great to get out into nature. But it’s important to know about CO poisoning and how to prevent it.

“As the country recovers from the pandemic we will see a significant increase in the number of first-time visitors to the Lake District National Park and visitors who may be new to camping.

“They may not be aware of the risks of CO, which could have devastating effects on individuals but also local communities and businesses. Learn how to keep you and your family safe by following the guidance on our website.”

The Lake District Foundation works with gas distributor Northern Gas Networks (NGN) to raise awareness of the dangers of CO.  NGN provides the region’s rapid response team when a smell of gas is reported or carbon monoxide is suspected.

Steve Dacre, CO Innovations Lead for NGN said: “CO cannot be seen, smelled, tasted or heard but it can be deadly. We’d advise anyone thinking of camping or caravanning this Easter holiday to pack an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their bag. They only cost £15 but could save your life.

“If you suspect carbon monoxide is present, or you smell gas, get into the fresh air immediately and call the National Gas Emergency Service straight away on 0800 111 999 and we can send an engineer out to you. This line is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“We are morally bound to preserve this way of life”

The Lake District Foundation has joined forces with The Lakes Distillery to launch a £25k funding pot for projects that enhance and conserve water quality.

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund is designed to support community and volunteer-led groups in their efforts to deliver water quality projects.

As the deadline for applications fast approaches (21 March 2022) we speak to Lakes Distillery co-founder and CEO Nigel Mills about the fund and why his company is so passionate about water quality…

Nigel Mills

How excited are you to launch The Lakes Distillery Water fund?

We are delighted to work with the Lake District Foundation on a fund which is designed to improve water quality in this wonderful part of the world.

We are really looking forward to receiving applications from community groups who have a passion for improving water quality throughout the Lake District National Park.

Why was The Lakes Distillery so keen to launch the Water Fund?

As a business nestled on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, our sense of responsibility is long-standing, but we didn’t think that trying to do good within the distillery alone was nearly enough.

We believe that the smartest way to drive positive change is by coming together and working in partnership where there is a common goal.

That is why we have joined forces with The Lake District Foundation to launch a collaboration we hope will have an impact for years to come. And we are excited to be able to support the fantastic work Sarah and the team at The Foundation do to protect and care for our National Park.

Why is The Lake Distillery so passionate about water quality?

All distilleries have a creation story, that moment of inspiration when someone decides they need to make whisky.

When that happens, there are three fundamental things they will need to succeed: lots of cold, clean water, space for storing whisky casks, and easy access to the market.

The Lake District has all of these in abundance and provides a beautiful and serene environment where creativity can flourish.

With our home rooted here, we are not only passionate about helping to protect it, but are morally bound to do all we can to preserve this way of life, including the quality of our rivers and lakes.

What kinds of water projects would you like to support?

We are in the early stages of this process in that we have asked for applications and are still waiting to see the requests. The most apparent thing for us is that we want to see projects driven by a desire to improve the water quality of our lakes and rivers.

How creative people are with the brief is up to them. We are set to look at applications at the end of March and can’t wait to see what great ideas the people of Cumbria come up with.

And your staff will also be getting involved?

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund has been made possible by the fundraising efforts of people from all areas of our business. The commitment is already company-wide, and I know the team are delighted that they are going to get the chance to be involved in supporting the successful projects first-hand.

We want to encourage positive change and so it goes beyond simply offering financial support to water improvement projects; we also want to play an active role in delivering them.

That is why each one of our team has been granted the opportunity to donate some of their time to support community and volunteer-led groups in their efforts to deliver these water quality schemes.

What would you say to community groups considering applying?

If you are considering applying for the Water Fund, we’d recommend you get moving with your application as the deadline of 21 March is fast approaching and we can’t wait to try and help you.

Apply here:

Lakes Distillery Water Fund must be received by 5pm Monday 22 March.

Funding boost to cut carbon in Cumbria

Community groups and businesses wishing to reduce their carbon footprint can apply for funding.

Low Carbon Lake District Grants is now open with another £200k available for projects which are designed to cut carbon. 

The Lake District Foundation is delighted to offer grants to community groups and small to medium sized businesses thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund.

Two rounds of funding have already seen grants allocated to projects across Cumbria.

These include solar panels and energy saving lighting at businesses, food waste composters at hotels, and new eco refrigerators at village shops.

Sarah Smith, from The Lake District Foundation said: “We are delighted to offer this third round of funding for a scheme which is already making real progress in cutting carbon in Cumbria.

“We would invite community groups and small to medium sized businesses from a range of sectors who are keen to cut carbon to register now. This is your chance to make a difference to the sustainability of Cumbria, to create a greener future.”

Applications will be reviewed by an independent expert panel. Businesses will need to operate within Cumbria.

One business which has benefited already is Embleton Spa Hotel in north Cumbria which has been supported to get a new food waste composter.

The hotel is now able to compost all its food waste – stopping it from going to landfill – and creating compost.

Cool at composting – Embleton Spa Hotel

Ali Dixon from Embleton Spa Hotel (pictured above) said: “We’d like to thank The Lake District Foundation and their partners for the grant funding they have provided to enable this project. Initiatives like this are of vital importance in making the significant changes required to combat climate change.

More details and to apply here: Low Carbon Lake District Grants – Lake District Foundation

The Low Carbon Lake District initiative is a comprehensive programme to help tackle climate change in the National Park, working in partnership with local businesses and communities to reduce greenhouse gases and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Led by the Lake District National Park Authority, other key partners include the Lake District Foundation, the National Trust, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Tourism.

Hedge heroes add to bio-diversity in Braithwaite

Braithwaite Institute has planted 80m of native hedgerow thanks to a £1,600 grant from The Lake District Foundation.

It applied to our Real Hedge Fund which gives funding to projects which help replace lost hedges and trees.

Peter Walter, Braithwaite Institute Chair of the Trustees, said.“We are lucky enough to have a huge site that hosts a cricket pitch, football pitch, tennis courts and bowling green, and we were keen to make our land as nature friendly as possible.

“This grant from the Real Hedge Fund has meant we can create a hedgerow full of nature friendly, native bushes and trees that we hope will add to the bio-diversity of our land. The hedgerow will also provide screening between our large car-park and sports fields.”

Tom Dutson and his team from Heartwood Enterprises planted the hedgerow.

Sarah Swindley, Chief Executive Lake District Foundation said: “We are delighted to support this important project. Hedges are wonderful things – they connect habitats, improve biodiversity, store carbon, and help prevent flooding.”

“Cumbria has been hit very badly this winter with severe storms which has seen thousands of trees and hedges destroyed. This makes planting projects like the one at Braithwaite even more important. The Foundation is committed to raising funds to help restore Cumbria’s lost trees.”

The Lake District Foundation’s Real Hedge Fund – which helps create and restore Cumbria’s hedgerows – has turned its focus to planting new trees and hedges lost in recent winter storms.

The charity will match-fund donations up to £5000. Every £25 donated by individuals or businesses will help create one metre of bio-diverse hedgerow or up to five saplings for replanting.

Donate to the Real Hedge Fund.

First seeds planted as eco-community grows

The first seeds have been planted on a unique green scheme in north Kendal.

Families have clubbed together to buy the derelict Holme House Farm in Skelsmergh and will create an eco-community of five homes.

They will minimise environmental impact while restoring and enhancing wildlife and habitats of the woodland, river and meadows on the plot.

The Lake District Foundation has funded the new hedgerow through the Real Hedge Fund. 

Families came together recently to plant eight oak trees – representing the community putting firm foundations down for future generations.

Over time it’s hoped the hedge will provide shelter, habitat, food and nesting sites for all manner of plants, insects, animals and birds. This will help local wildlife flourish and become more resilient.

People will also be able to harvest berries, hips and nuts for their larders, wine and jam making.

Chris Loynes from Holme House Farm said: “The funding has made it possible for us to buy native edible hedge plants and standards to create a boundary hedge, especially along the edge that we share with a public footpath.

“It is so helpful to get local funding and support for our plans to restore and enhance wildlife on Holme House Farm by planting this hedge. It has become a focal point for the community members and our friends and neighbours to get to know the place and each other.

“We hope walkers will, in time, be able to take advantage of the edible hedge as well as ourselves and wildlife.”

The Lake District Foundation’s Real Hedge Fund – which helps create and restore Cumbria’s hedgerows – has turned its focus to planting new trees and hedges lost in November’s Storm Arwen. 

The charity will match-fund donations up to £5000. Every £25 donated by individuals or businesses will help create one metre of bio-diverse hedgerow or up to five saplings for replanting.

Donate to the Real Hedge Fund


Historic house cuts carbon thanks to grant

The amazing Rookhow Quaker Meeting House in the Rusland Valley is almost 300-years-old and is being brought back to its former glory.

The Grade II* listed building secured around £15,550 from the Low Carbon Lake District Grants Scheme to install an air source heat pump (ASHP).

The Lake District Foundation was delighted to support this as it will improve comfort levels in the building, protect its fabric and reduce carbon footprint.

Rookhow’s redevelopment has been made possible by several trusts and individuals who have funded this fantastic project.

We visited recently to check on developments with Sue Nicholls, Rookhow Development Manager.

From May 2022 Rookhow will be open to the public on first and third Friday of every month 10am-4pm. For more info contact Sue at Rookhow: [email protected].

“Woodlands should be treasured by all” – meet graduate forester Bryce

Cumbria has a new kid on the block taking his first steps in forestry employment.

Bryce Flannaghan is a new graduate forester employed by the Lake District Foundation and managed by Cumbria Woodlands.

As part of his learning Bryce will work alongside United Utilities staff making lasting improvements to woodlands in Thirlmere. We caught-up with Bryce to find out more.

Bryce at Thirlmere. Photo Ewen Turner/Cumbria Woodlands.

Tell us about your role 

My 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.

This will finance the restoration of plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) to their former natural condition throughout Thirlmere Valley. This will increase overall biodiversity, mitigate the effects of extreme weather events and climate change, as well as improving the water quality of Thirlmere reservoir, which supplies water throughout the Northwest.

My responsibility is the planning and implementation of this woodland restoration and I hope to improve and protect these unique habitats so future generations can benefit from them.

Thirlmere. Photo Ewen Turner / Cumbria Woodlands.

How pleased are you to start as graduate forester?

The forest industry is full of passionate and knowledgeable individuals, which makes for very strong competition when seeking employment as a graduate with little experience.

There are few apprenticeship schemes or graduate places that will allow someone who is new to the industry to develop their skills and connect with professionals and I was very lucky to have secured one with Cumbria Woodlands.

They, in partnership with United Utilities and the Lake District Foundation have supported me in my transition from education to full-time work, providing essential equipment and offering many training opportunities. I couldn’t ask for a better start in forestry.

Are woodlands a passion of yours?

At first, no. I finished my A-Levels and had no Idea what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew I wanted to work outdoors. I decided to do a forestry management course at the University of Cumbria on a whim and instantly loved it. I had never really thought about the importance of woodlands beyond their production of oxygen and as a place to go for a walk.

Seeing the vast scope of industry reliant on forest products and learning how sustainable forest management benefits the wider environment and the health and well-being of society, made me realise that woodlands should be treasured and protected by all.

What are you most looking forward to in your role?

Forestry and its related sectors comprise a wide range of disciplines and everyone I have met so far has had a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a passion for their respective fields.

I always learn something new when talking to colleagues or meeting woodland owners / managers on site. This, in combination with the many training and learning opportunities provided by Cumbria Woodlands, mean I can look forward to expanding my knowledge and experience while in this role and hopefully this will continue throughout my career.

Have you always lived in the Lake District?

I’m originally from the North East but after moving to the Lake District for university I couldn’t leave…

There’s a reason so many people visit the national park each year, the landscape is stunning and there’s no end of things to do if you enjoy being outdoors. I’m very fortunate to be able to live and work here.

What is your favourite place in the Lake District?

As a forester, you would probably think it would be a pristine woodland somewhere or the location of a remarkable ancient tree, but I prefer a challenging hike up a fell.

My favourite area at the moment is the Langdale Pikes and If I’m feeling brave, I’ll scramble up Jacks Rake along the way. I should also mention my favourite woodland though, which is Heald Wood, a National Trust site on the west shore of Windermere with a nice mixture of ancient broad-leaved woodland, large conifers and excellent views across the lake.

What are your passions outside of work?

Outside of work I enjoy climbing, hiking, and wild camping… and pretty much anything else you can do outdoors in the lakes. I also play the drums whenever I get the chance which, to the delight of my next door neighbours, isn’t too often.

Photo Ewen Turner / Cumbria Woodlands

Lakes Distillery makes splash with clean water scheme

Funding is available to community groups keen to be kind to lakes and rivers across Cumbria.

Lake District Foundation has joined forces with The Lakes Distillery to launch a £25k funding pot for projects that enhance and conserve water quality.

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund is designed to support community and volunteer-led groups in their efforts to deliver water quality schemes.

Funding is available thanks to fantastic fundraising efforts and donations from The Lakes Distillery which can be found on the banks of the River Derwent.

Staff from the company will also be on hand to donate their time by helping at some of the successful projects.

Sarah Smith, Lake District Foundation Operations Manager, said: “We are delighted to launch this new Water Grant Fund thanks to the generosity of The Lakes Distillery. We are keen to award funding to the very best community-led projects in the Lake District which make a lasting improvement to water quality in our rivers and lakes.”

Nigel Mills, co-founder and CEO at The Lakes Distillery, said “As part of The Lake District community, our sense of responsibility is long-standing but trying to do good within the distillery alone is not nearly enough. That is why we are excited to be able to support the fantastic work Sarah and the team at The Foundation do to protect and care for our National Park.

“Working towards a common goal, we cannot wait to see the projects that come out of the Water Fund, and for our team to have the chance to spend time helping to deliver some of them.”

Projects must focus on water quality in the Lake District and demonstrate that they will contribute to at least one of the following objectives: pollution prevention and mitigation, habitat creation and protection, invasive species control, species conservation or education.

Lake District Foundation welcomes applications from community organisations that meet set criteria.

The total pot size is £25,000 and applications are welcomed for projects valued at £5,000.

The Fund opens for applications on 7 February and the closing date is 21 March.

Details and how to apply here.

Young people connect with nature

The Lake District Foundation supported a project which sees young people experiencing nature and exploring potential careers in the countryside.

The sessions opened a door on the great outdoors, inviting students to immerse themselves in nature, building skills and confidence in safe surroundings.

We spoke to Marion Brown from Rusland Horizons about the success of two ‘bushcraft days’ which saw young people, with limited access to nature, learning countryside skills from yesteryear.

Tell us about the work of Rusland Horizons.

Marion: “Rusland Horizons Trust is a charitable community trust. It relies on, and welcomes, the support of its local community and members and is proud to work alongside them to achieve a Living Landscape, Thriving Community within the unique and beautiful Rusland valley.

“Rusland Horizon’s conservation work manages and enables nature recovery and regeneration, protecting precious habitats which are home to many fascinating, and sometimes rare, wildlife and ecosystems.

“This is done through practical conservation activities supported by members, local communities in the Rusland valley, volunteers and via outreach projects such as the Broadening Horizons initiative with Furness College.”

Tell us about the bushcraft days which Lake District Foundation supported.

Marion “The bushcraft days were an opportunity to immerse the students in the countryside and woodlands of the Rusland valley. They enabled those who might not usually spend much time in the outdoors to build confidence within this environment and encourage interaction with the countryside on an ongoing basis.

“Organised in partnership with Woodmatters, the bushcraft days helped the young people deepen their connection with nature through learning a number of every-day primitive skills used thousands of years ago, such as tracking, fire lighting and whittling.

“The students also learned greenwood skills and made spatulas by whittling off-cuts of wood and using simple tools. There was also the chance to help with a charcoal burn, making barbecue charcoal in the woods using a kiln.

The students not only got hands-on learning new skills but they were encouraged to explore and connect with nature in many different ways.

“It is hoped that this new appreciation for the woodland landscape will encourage them to continue with their interest in nature, be protective of it and possibly volunteer for an organisation like Rusland Horizons in the future.”

Why is it important for young people to get out into nature?

Marion: “The threat of climate change, loss of biodiversity and the importance of prioritising nature are messages that our young people are all too familiar with. Very often they are the ones leading the way, calling for action to protect and conserve our landscapes, habitats, wildlife and communities.

“Time spent in nature and the great outdoors has numerous benefits for all of us. For some young people with limited access to the outdoors, due to economic disadvantage, this can be magnified.

“Our aim is to remove the barriers that prevent disadvantaged young people having the opportunity to experience what many of us take for granted.

“This includes providing transport from towns to the countryside and providing a safe place to experience nature. In addition to the physical gains that can be achieved, such as improved health and mental well-being, the opportunity to be immersed in nature can be, for some, life changing, building new skills and confidence.

“Nature and our environment is at a critical point and our young people are vital in ensuring the protection of our natural world. Engaging them, educating them and allowing them the opportunity to experience all that nature has to offer, will help to show the immense benefits nature can provide and hopefully instill a sense of protection towards it.”

Learn more about Rusland Horizons

Help Lake District Foundation continue to support fantastic initiatives across the Lake District here

Fund’s boost for tree recovery

A new campaign is launched to help Lake District woodlands recover from Storm Arwen.

Thousands of trees were felled causing terrible damage to woodlands across the county.

It’s been almost one month since the storm ripped through Cumbria, leaving significant damage in its wake.

Orrest Head in Windermere suffered around 75 felled trees. Mayor Adrian Legge is pictured surveying storm damage this week.

The Lake District Foundation’s Real Hedge Fund – which helps create and restore Cumbria’s hedgerows – will turn its focus to planting new trees and hedges lost in the storm.

The charity will match-fund donations up to £5000.

Every £25 donated by individuals or businesses will help create one metre of bio-diverse hedgerow or up to five saplings for replanting.

Sarah Swindley, CEO, Lake District Foundation, said: “You only have to walk around the county to see the scale of destruction to our woodlands following Storm Arwen.

“Our existing Real Hedge Fund campaign has been helping to restore Cumbria’s hedgerows. Given the impact of Storm Arwen we are now extending that campaign to include replanting of trees felled in the storm.”

You can donate here: The Real Hedge Fund – Lake District



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