Managing the biodiversity of the Lake District National Park

The Lake District Foundation has awarded a grant of £4,500 to the Cumbria Local Nature Partnership, enabling them to lead the development of a clear, strategic approach for managing the biodiversity of the Lake District National Park.

Local Nature Partnerships have been established to drive positive change in the local natural environment.  This funding will enable them to consider the broad picture across Cumbria, pooling knowledge and indentifying any gaps and challenges.  We will then be able to ensure that future funding is invested in the best possible places and projects, with the right people involved to deliver measurable benefits for wildlife, people and the economy.

We look forward to the development of this strategy, which will help us all ensure that we care for and protect the landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage of the English Lake District in the best possible way.

Helping to save Helvellyn’s vulnerable arctic alpine flora

The Lake District Foundation has awarded a grant of over £2,600 to the John Muir Trust, which last year took over responsibility for the management of a large part of the iconic Lake District mountain, Helvellyn.  The money will fund a new project aiming to increase the populations of threatened arctic-alpine species found on the high crags of the Helvellyn range.

The project will bring together national experts, local volunteers and staff of the John Muir Trust in a project to safeguard our nationally important but extremely vulnerable populations of Arctic alpine flora.  Many of these species are growing at the southern edge of their range on Helvellyn.  The project hopes to see the successful re-introduction of species lost or under threat due to people and erosion pressure.  The work will also help to ‘future-proof’ upland floral and shrub populations against the threat of climate change.  Alpine mouse ear, Alpine cinquefoil and purple saxifrage are amongst the species that, it is hoped, will benefit from a gradual increase in their population size.

Beginning in the autumn/winter months of 2018, the project will start with the close monitoring of the arctic alpine species present and the collection of seed and cuttings.  Volunteers from the local community in Patterdale will work with staff from the John Muir Trust to propagate and ‘grow-on’ a stock of young plants.  Specialist advice will be available from Natural England and volunteer growers will help assess the success and failure of propagation of these rare species to help inform future work.  The funding from the Lake District Foundation will cover the costs of the special growing medium, pots and tools needed, and will contribute towards the costs of seed and cuttings collection, volunteer training and transport.

Hopefully – and with the enthusiastic support of Patterdale’s volunteer horticulturalists – the first successful shrub cuttings will be ready to plant out by autumn 2019.  The more adventurous and athletic volunteers may even get the opportunity to climb the high crags of Helvellyn to help planting out back onto the fells.  But the whole community and visitors to this upland landscape will benefit if this ground-breaking project is successful in creating more robust populations of the endangered arctic alpine species found in this tough Lakeland habitat.

Lake District Foundation launches regular giving appeal

Lake District Foundation launches regular giving appeal

The Lake District Foundation (LDF) has launched a new campaign to boost the number of people who give to the charity on a regular basis.

By donating as little as £2.50 per month, those who sign up to become a regular supporter will directly contribute to funding vital projects aimed at caring for the Lake District and Cumbria’s natural environment and cultural heritage.

Recent examples of projects include fundraising to fix the paths on England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, the Haweswater Woodland project – where volunteers will plant 400 protected native trees on a carefully selected area of Mardale Common and earlier this year a fundraising campaign generate funds to support the reconnection of the old Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path which was washed away by Storm Desmond in 2015.

Regular supporters will be directly supporting high-impact and evidence-based projects on the ground, ensuring the sustainability of our spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage.

Lake District Foundation Director Sarah Swindley says, “Regular income is of enormous benefit to charities, especially so for the Lake District Foundation. The money raised will enable our team to help fund projects that share our goals much more effectively. Forward planning is so important and having a regular income stream helps us to plan even further ahead. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money if people choose to donate. Any amount, no matter how big or small, is welcome. It all adds-up to help us look after this spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

As a token of gratitude to those who show their regular support, donors will be sent a

welcome pack including a Lake District Foundation tote bag, window sticker, as well as limited edition pin and woven patch badge – the latter of which has been produced by Keswick-based family business, Conquer Lake District.

The regular giving campaign was launched at the weekend’s Holker Hall Winter Market, where the team was joined by University of Cumbria volunteer students from the Ambleside campus, as well as the team from Lake District Pound (LD£).

You can sign-up by telephoning 01539 822 622, 9am-5pm on weekdays, download a paper form from the LDF website. Alternatively, people can sign up face to face at the Kendal Mountain Festival (November 15-18) or the Keswick Victorian Christmas Market (December 2). As an extra bonus, the first 100 people to sign-up will be entered into a free prize draw for a fell runner Jos Naylor-signed LD£ book.

‘Cultural Heritage’ within the Lake District World Heritage Site – Join the discussion

The Lake District’s World Heritage Site inscription includes its Cultural Heritage – but what does that mean?  If you live or work in or close to the Lake District, you will now have an opportunity to join in the discussion to help define and manage this special characteristic of the area.

The Lake District Foundation has awarded £4,500 for a series of community workshops to be held throughout Cumbria and the Lake District to help residents understand and take ownership of the Cultural Heritage of the Lake District World Heritage Site.

A pilot event held in May 2018 clearly demonstrated that there is currently a lack of understanding about World Heritage Status and what it might mean for local communities in the Lake District.  Equally important is the impact on communities on the periphery of the designated World Heritage Site.  Participants at the pilot workshop were keen to establish on-going dialogue so that local representatives share in the development of both identity and vision for the World Heritage Site.

Thanks to the funding from the Lake District Foundation, community development organisation ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is now able to arrange a series of local engagement workshops.  These will enable residents to explore the benefits, opportunities and challenges presented by the Lake District’s World Heritage Status.  They will give local people an opportunity to help define the identity, protection and management of their cultural heritage.  Residents and community representatives from across the county will have an opportunity to attend workshops in Bootle, Broughton-in-Furness, Keswick, Glenridding and Grasmere.  The events will focus on listening to community views and exploring with them ways to work with the Lake District National Park Partnership (the body responsible for World Heritage Status inscription) to celebrate their cultural heritage and conserve the natural environment.

Tree planting at Mardale Common, Haweswater

The Lake District Foundation has awarded a grant of over £2,000 to the Royal Society for the protection of Birds (RSPB) for tree planting at its Haweswater Nature Reserve at Bampton, near Penrith.  Commencing in November 2018, the project will see 400 trees planted on Mardale Common over the coming two winters.  The new planting will enhance the resilience of the existing ancient woodland, which is vulnerable as trees become older and less able to withstand the spread of disease and the effects of climate change.

This valuable contribution will enable the RSPB to train and equip their active team of local volunteers to plant the saplings, sourced from their own Haweswater tree nursery, to create an area of new woodland on Mardale Common.  The trees will be surrounded with weldmesh protection, nurturing their survival into mature trees.  Planted at low density, the new trees will become the large open-grown landscape trees for future generations.  Currently, these large landscape trees are being lost in Cumbria at a faster rate than they are being replaced, and the Lake District World Heritage Site nomination highlighted the vulnerability of our ageing native tree population and the need for new planting in appropriate places.

The RSPB has extensive experience of tree planting at Haweswater, having managed the area in collaboration with the landowner, United Utilities, for over 40 years.  The project has been developed in consultation with the Woodland Trust, the National Trust and United Utilities to provide a co-ordinated response to the challenges.

The local community welcomes this important project, recognising the importance of woodlands in providing habitat to support a broad range of wildlife, as well as being concerned about the impact on the landscape caused by the loss of ancient trees.  The RSPB already has extensive experience of tree planting at Haweswater, where previous planting work has resulted in an increase in biodiversity, with gains recorded for species including red squirrels, tree pipits and whinchats.  Mardale Common is all designated public access land, and the new area of woodland can be reached using a number of public footpaths that pass nearby.

Whilst the RSPB is hugely grateful to the Lake District Foundation’s supporters whose donations have made this funding possible, they are indebted to their team of around 20 local volunteers who are committed to conserving the wildlife and landscape on their doorstep.  The group is open to all ages and abilities and is always actively seeking new members to join its weekly work parties.

The Lake District Foundation funds work to improve Dash Beck at Bassenthwaite

The Lake District Foundation has approved a grant of over £2,000 towards a project led by the West Cumbria Rivers Trust, working in partnership with Bassenthwaite Rotary Club, to enhance the habitat of Dash Beck and surrounding land.  The project was first conceived by local people, and they will be fundamental to the successful delivery of the works necessary to improve the habitat of Dash Beck for a range of wildlife, particularly salmon and trout.  The project will also improve the safety and accessibility of the footpath from Bassenthwaite village to the lake, benefiting the local community and visitors alike.

The River Derwent, Bassenthwaite Lake’s principal river, is internationally important for its salmon and trout populations but these are currently in decline.  Preliminary work shows that Dash Beck could be an excellent spawning habitat for salmon, trout and other salmonids, but is currently not reaching its potential.  The project will tackle pollution inputs, reduce sediment inputs to the beck, increase in-stream habitat diversity, allow more light to reach the river bed, and will manage the riverside woodland to enhance its suitability for a wider variety of species.  To achieve this, tasks will include clearing and repairing the footpath; stabilising the eroding bank with natural materials; coppicing bankside woodland to allow more light to reach the stream and increase diversity of woodland habitat; pulling Himalayan balsam; and fencing off the beck and footpath from the farmland.  Other planned work includes training for landowners on the benefits of coppicing by Cumbria Woodlands.

As much work as possible will be carried out by volunteers, and activities will give them the opportunity to learn about the stream and the threats it faces.  Volunteers from Bassenthwaite Rotary Club will be trained as Riverfly monitors, taking monthly surveys of invertebrates as indicators of water quality and siltation.  Local volunteers will continue to walk the beck to monitor Himalyan balsam and overgrowth, and will continue to control if necessary.

Work will also be carried out to maintain the footpath alongside Dash Beck down to a quiet area of Bassenthwaite lake shore, where it joins a network of other footpaths, including the long distance ‘Allerdale ramble’ trail.  The project will reduce the risk of bank erosion, making the footpath safer and improving access to the lake.

Dash Beck lies in the northern fells of the English Lake District, descending rapidly from its source on the north facing slopes of the Skiddaw massif over a series of cascades known as Whitewater Dash or Dash Falls, described by Wainwright as the finest succession of falls in the Lake District.  The lower reaches of Dash Beck, which is where the work will be carried out, continue through a small valley of the same name, through the village of Bassenthwaite before flowing into Bassenthwaite Lake at its north-eastern corner.

Cedar Manor is fundraising for the Lake District Foundation – in three languages

Cedar Manor is helping us to reach out to international visitors with fundraising material developed in Chinese, Korean and Japanese as well as English for guests staying at the hotel.

Like many other accommodation providers in the Lake District, Cedar Manor is already fundraising for the Lake District Foundation through a scheme that adds a small voluntary donation to bills drawn up for all guests at the hotel. Altogether, 39 accommodation providers in the Lake District contributed £51,033 to the Lake District Foundation in FY2017-18, with nearly 5 per cent or £2,337 of that figure raised by Cedar Manor alone. As of November 2018, this figure is likely to rise, however, with new bespoke room browser material describing the scheme and its benefits to international guests in their native languages.

With international visitor numbers rising steadily, we are dependent on hotels and other service providers in the honeypot areas of Windermere, Grasmere, Bowness and Hawkshead in particular for ways to help visitors continue to enjoy the treasures of this unique destination without diminishing its value for both future visitors and the people who live here. In time, we hope more hotels welcoming international guests will come forward to take advantage of the kind of promotional material we have developed for Cedar Manor.  With the funds we receive most recently allocated to projects to protect wildlife, clean up rivers, and champion communities, local businesses are the Lake District’s finest ambassadors, helping domestic and international visitors alike to “give back” to the Lake District, so that the Lake District can keep giving back to them.

Peter Rabbit inspires international donors to give over £100,000 pounds to the Lake District in eight years of Japanese visitor giving

Were she alive today, Beatrix Potter – an influential founder and avid supporter of the English conservation movement in her lifetime, as well as the artist who brought us Peter Rabbit – would surely be thrilled to see Peter Rabbit inspiring international as well as domestic visitors to care for the beautiful landscapes, rich wildlife and cultural heritage that inspired his creator.

Released in Japan in May this year, Peter Rabbit (Sony Entertainment 2018) made 1-1.1 billion yen in ticket sales and ranked second place in the first weekend box office rankings – the film’s popularity testimony to Peter’s enduring fascination for the Japanese public. As audiences in Japan recover from Peter’s latest charm offensive, the Lake District Foundation and more than 10 Japanese tour operators are celebrating eight years of success for the Japan Visitor Giving Scheme. Set up in 2010, the Scheme supports conservation projects in the Lake District by raising funds through the support of tour operators bringing Japanese tourists to the region.

The fundraising mechanism is simple: visitors who book a tour to the Lake District with tour operators participating in the Scheme are invited to make a £5 (approx. 700 yen at current rates) donation to the Lake District Foundation. Donors receive an original Peter Rabbit pin-badge as a thank you for the donation, and the rest of the funds are distributed to chosen projects in the Lake District. These have included restorative work at Wray Castle – one of many childhood summer homes for the Potter family when Beatrix was a young girl – and an important off-road path which helps visitors of every nationality, Japanese included, to travel on foot and by bicycle, safely and sustainably, to Hill Top Farm – a 17th century stone farmhouse bought by Beatrix Potter in 1905, and the place where she wrote many of the “little picture books” for which she is known.

The scheme has raised £116,125 (approx. 16,778,000 yen at current rates) to date, thanks to the generosity of Japanese donors and the support of the participating tour companies, which include Miki Tourist, JTB World Vacations Inc., Hanshin Friend Tour and the Global Youth Bureau. Lake District Foundation Director Sarah Swindley says: “We know that the Japanese public love the Lake District and we are delighted and grateful that they are helping us to care for the landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage that inspired Beatrix Potter, for all to enjoy.” This love stems in part from Peter’s popularity with generations of Japanese schoolchildren, as well as the fact that Beatrix Potter’s stories are easy to read, rooted in nature, kawaii (cute), and quintessentially English.

Japanese and Chinese visitors comprise a large part of the some 2.6 million overseas visitors flocking to the Lake District each year (Cumbria Tourism, estimated figures for 2016) – female Japanese visitors in particular visiting the area to soak up the Peter Rabbit ambience as well as see other attractions like Dove Cottage in Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth. Were she alive today, Potter – an influential founder and avid supporter of the English conservation movement in her lifetime, as well as a shrewd creator and marketer of Peter Rabbit goods – would surely be delighted to see Hill Top Farm a top visitor attraction and Peter Rabbit fostering a love not only for cuddly toys, stationery, plates, keyrings and other souvenirs featuring his image, but an enduring love for and support of the green fields, fells and valleys in which Peter and his siblings would have played.

As the film shows, Peter Rabbit had many friends who were imagined and created by Ms Potter: Mrs Tiggy-winkle, a hedgehog, and a pig called Pigling Bland among them. Absent from the cast is a particular young red squirrel called Squirrel Nutkin – beloved by generations of British schoolchildren for his antics on Derwentwater, where he paddled out by raft to St. Herbert’s Island (Owl Island in the tale) with other squirrels, spreading out their red bushy tails as sails. Red squirrels are a small native woodland mammal, found mainly in wooded areas in the north of England, western Wales and parts of Scotland, threatened with extinction for decades owing to competition from the invasive non-native American grey squirrel introduced to the Britain in the 1870s. Greys out-compete red squirrels for food in deciduous and mixed woodlands and transmit a virus that is lethal to red squirrels. Today, there are estimated to be only 140,000 red squirrels left in Britain, with over 2.5 million greys. Little surprise, then, if few British children will have ever seen a red squirrel outside of picture-books, television or wildlife centres.

There is hope for the red squirrel, however, thanks to the efforts of local and regional conservation groups working hard to control grey squirrels and support reds in their natural habitat. Red squirrel numbers are rebounding in the Lake District and Cumbria, and these shy creatures can now be found in woods on the banks of Derwentwater again, presumably contemplating their next big adventure to Owl Island. The Lake District Foundation recently made a grant of £6,067 to local red squirrel conservation groups, which will be used to support conservation rangers, red squirrel feeding stations and monitoring surveys that help to inform future conservation work.

To help us care for the breath-taking landscapes that are home to Peter and his friends with a donation please visit www.justgiving.com/lakedistrictfoundation or contact Tracey Gannon, our International Partnerships Coordinator by email at Tracey.Gannon@lakedistrictfoundation.org or phone +44-1539-822622.

Lake District Foundation announces first wave of new grants

The Lake District Foundation has revealed the first five projects set to receive funding from its grant fund, sharing out £16,000 between five projects from across Cumbria.

Funds had been raised through local businesses asking their guests for donations when they pay their bill, while further money was also raised by visitors, residents and others who love the Lake District by donating online, by text or through traditional donation boxes.

In total, we received 35 applications, and had the difficult task of choosing the projects which could benefit from the money available. The chosen projects were awarded funding based on criteria including the impact, links to World Heritage Site status, community involvement, and partnership working.

 

We are delighted to announce funding for the following projects:

Project Organisation
Adopt a beck – Dash beck West Cumbria Rivers Trust
Making it Count for Wildlife Cumbria Local Nature Partnership (CLNP)
Haweswater Woodland Planting Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Lakeland Arctic-Alpine Vegetation Restoration Project John Muir Trust
Community Heritage Action for Communities in Cumbria

 

Details of the first five projects to be chosen are as follows:

  • The Adopt a Beck Project will deliver practical measures to improve the habitat of Dash beck for a range of wildlife, particularly salmon and trout, and improve the safety and accessibility of the footpath from Bassenthwaite village to the lake. The activities will be undertaken by volunteers where appropriate, providing opportunities to learn about the stream and the threats it faces. This will include bank stabilisation, Himalayan balsam pulling, fencing off the beck from livestock and monitoring activities. The project will also include a training day for landowners on coppicing with Cumbria Woodlands.

 

  • The Making it Count for Wildlife project by Cumbria Local Nature Partnership will review and identify the priorities and strategies for caring for our wildlife in Cumbria. Looking at whole landscapes and ecosystems, they will identify projects that deliver bigger, better more joined-up habitats and resilient, well-functioning ecosystems. Over the years we’ve invested in many great projects which support individual species and whole habitats, and this project will help us to take a step back and look at the wider Cumbrian picture to ensure that future funding is invested in the best possible places and projects, and with the right people involved to deliver measurable benefits for wildlife, place and people.

 

  • In the Haweswater Woodland Planting Project local volunteers will help plant 400 individually protected native trees on a carefully selected area of Mardale Common, extending the existing ancient woodland and contributing to the resilience of the iconic Lake District landscape, as older trees are lost. The new open woodland will create important habitat for wildlife and improve soil stability, slowing the flow of rainwater from the fell, helping to reduce flood risk and improving the quality of drinking water from the Haweswater catchment. Local people will gain new skills through our fun, weekly conservation work-party.

 

  • The Lakeland Arctic-Alpine Vegetation Restoration Project aims to increase the populations of threatened and restricted numbers of arctic-alpine species on the crags of the Helvellyn range in the Lake District National Park. Some species, often at the southern edge of their range and nationally important, have had their numbers reduced through combinations of collecting, grazing and recreation. Climate change is also a future threat against which increased, more robust populations will have a better chance of survival. They will work with expert advice from Natural England but also the local community on plant and seed propagation.

 

  • Community Heritage will deliver a series of community workshops throughout Cumbria & the Lake District which will help residents understand and take ownership of the Cultural Heritage of the Lake District World Heritage Site. Residents will explore the benefits, opportunities and challenges presented by WHS and be encouraged to embrace and celebrate their own cultural heritage. The main outcome is to open channels for dialogue between LDNP partners and communities and to build the capacity for place-making initiatives, using WHS and Cultural Heritage as a catalyst to nurture pride of place.

 

Sarah Swindley, Director of the Lake District Foundation says: “We are delighted to be able to award funds to these fantastic local projects. We are so grateful to the generous visitors and residents who love the Lake District and have made a donation. We look forward to seeing this projects progress and deliver positive impact for Cumbria.”

Two weeks to go – three new rewards announced!

Hot off the press….

Earlier this month, we launched a massive crowdfunding campaign , with the aim of raising £17,000 to fix the well-trodden footpaths of Scafell Pike. The campaign has raised £5,000 so far and now with just over 2 weeks to go, we are pleased to announce three fantastic new rewards.

  • Donate £150 or more to claim a Lake District Pound First Edition Collector Set. This 2018 LD£ Collector Set contains a set of perfect condition, uncirculated Lake District Pounds – LD£20, LD£10, LD£5 & LD£1 – all featuring your own unique serial number. Every LD£ you collect funds projects that look after our landscapes and local communities. Join a global community of people who love the Lake District and want to help keep it special. 25 available.
  • Donate £150 or more to claim a Fix the Fells Volunteering Experience. Enjoy a day out on the Lake District fells with the Fix the Fells volunteer lengthsmen. Learn the techniques and try your hand at upland footpath maintenance. On a mutually convenient date, for up to 4 people. 2 available.
  • Donate £200 or more to claim a Fix the Fells Ranger Day. An exciting opportunity to understand more about the incredible landscape around the Lake District, and all the work that goes into looking after it. Dates and locations to be arranged with the winner, can be tailored to suit interests and fitness etc. 2 people able to attend. 1 available!

To make your donation and claim your reward visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mend-the-lakes

Rewards are limited and will be awarded on a first come first served basis so the sooner you donate the better!

 

 

Japanese Tour Operators raise £18,975 for the Lake District Foundation

Japanese Tour Operators have collectively raised £18,975 for the Lake District Foundation in a year.

The participating businesses ask their customers who are booking a trip to the Lake District if they would like to make a £5 donation to the Lake District Foundation, and they receive a small gift in exchange.

Last year, we were delighted that the following tour operators were involved:

  • Club Tourism International
  • Eurasia Travel
  • Friend Tour West Japan
  • Global Youth Bureau
  • Hankyu Travel International West Japan
  • JALPAK
  • JTB Media Retailing Kyushu Branch
  • JTB Retailing Tokyo
  • JTB Media Retailing West Japan
  • LOOK JTB
  • Nippon Travel Agency
  • TDR Travel Express

Here are some pictures of our participating businesses celebrating another successful year!

Moriyama high school students thank the Lake District for having them with a generous donation

Students from Shiga Prefectural Moriyama High School were back in the Lake District again this summer for a one week study programme as part of their Japanese Ministry of Education funded school project “To Realise a Sustainable Society”. We were delighted to be invited to their final presentation workshop and farewell party at the YHA Grasmere, where the students presented Ms Sarah Swindley, CEO of the Lake District Foundation with a generous donation of £100.

At the barbeque party which followed the presentations, students quizzed our CEO eagerly on topics ranging from the differences in environmental awareness in Japan and the UK, attitudes to volunteerism in the two nations, and why the Lake District could take a leaf out of Japan’s book, by installing road mirrors on corners to help cars and buses more safely navigate the Lake District’s many narrow and winding roads.  Sarah Swindley pronounced herself “utterly charmed” by the Moriyama high school students, and we hope to see them again next year, as well, perhaps, as students from other Japanese high schools, in years to come. With better weather, hopefully, given the torrential rain that fell during the farewell barbeque!

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