Grants awarded to local projects

Read about the latest environmental projects we are supporting.

We deliver funds for community initiatives that look after the Lake District.

Long Marton Primary School (Real Hedge Fund – February 2023) 

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.

Now five new projects will be supported. 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.”

In 2021 we awarded grants to 13 projects across Cumbria. The successful projects have each been awarded between £250 – £500 from the small grants fund.

The projects which have been successful share our charity’s goal; that the Lake District and Cumbria will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action, to support a prosperous local economy, world-class visitor experiences and in a place where vibrant communities come together to sustain its spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage. 

A brief summary of each can be found below:

Phoenix Park Butterfly Garden TWIG (Trees for Wigton) 

Creating a butterfly and bee garden. The garden will provide protective habitats for all lifecycle stages, and will include elements of a sensory garden which can be used by local organisations for people with special needs and will provide a park focal point. The project has been designed by local volunteers. Local schools, youth clubs and groups with special needs will be involved in wildflower planting. 

Celtic Shelter rebuild Friends of Dubwath Silver Meadows

This volunteer led project will see repair of a Celtic shelter in the heart of Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature reserve. The shelter is an important resource, enabling more people to access the reserves and take shelter whilst watching the wildlife. This environmentally friendly construction will last for at least another 10 years once rebuilt. 

Thermal Imaging Camera Conservation Campaign – Binsey Red Squirrel Group

We have supported Binsey Red Squirrel group to buy a thermal imaging camera so that they can increase the efficiency of their conservation efforts and improve monitoring and reporting. Red squirrels are classed as Near Threatened in England, without conservation management they could be extinct in 10 years (Final Red Squirrels United Technical Report to LIFE, 2020). A thermal imaging camera will help identify squirrels high in the canopy, in dense foliage or in low light conditions. They are also able to use them to check drey’s to look for nesting & young reds in a non-invasive way. 

Rewilding the Roadside Rusland Rewilding

The Blooming Hedgerow Project will disperse indigenous wildflower seed along the edge of country lanes in an area of Rusland from Tottlebank to Oxen Park (roughly 4km).   The aim of the project is to repopulate the roadside hedgerow and verge with a range of indigenous wildflowers, which will make up for the loss of biodiversity in the valley created by the long-term use of weedkiller and fertiliser. This new corridor will extend biodiversity, offer connective habitats for invertebrates and create a beautiful floral avenue.  If successful, the project could be further extended. 

Education For Conservation Keswick Red Squirrel Group (KRSG) 

We have supported KSRGs project to develop a partnership with Borrowdale Primary School, which has around 40 pupils, to involve & educate children in red squirrel conservation efforts, working with the school to make red squirrels a part of the children’s outdoor activities as much as possible. Children will take part in practical projects such as setting up feeders, cameras and recording their sightings of red and grey squirrels which will link to the groups work and recordings, helping them feel that they are making a difference. 

Rothay Park Wildflower Meadow Ambleside Action for a Future (Growing Group) 

This project will create a small wildflower meadow in Rothay Park, containing native grasses, wildflowers, and bog plants, bounded by a small stream, approximate size 100 square metres. All work will be done by volunteers who have already delivered several small projects including a flower planter box, a chat bench and a small orchard of apple and plum trees. 

The Rusland Valley Trust Outreach Project The Rusland Horizons Trust Ltd  

The aim of this project is to work with Furness College students to offer disadvantaged young people a chance to learn about and to restore a native woodland landscape. They will have the opportunity to undertake practical work, learn new skills and enhance their personal wellbeing . The activities will also demonstrate to them the potential for non-urban careers working in the natural landscape. This project offers low income and disadvantaged students, with little exposure to the natural world, the chance to better understand and help protect these amazing ecosystems thus contributing to the health and future resilience of native woodland 

Charles Gough Path Interpretation Boards Sockbridge & Tirril Parish Council, Community Led Plan Team

A Parish Circular Path was created in 2020 when Lowther Estates gave permission for a path from Highfield to Celleron, to link existing PRoWs. New gates, fingerposts and direction indicators were installed.  a riparian zone of 4,500 m2 was fenced off, and 16 volunteers planted 300 trees. The LDF have supported installation of 2 interpretation boards to inform walkers on the route about the different species of trees which were planted, and the benefits of planting trees, and the view from the highest point of the route: the mountains of the Lake District and the Pennines. 

St Matthew’s Forest School Group St Matthew’s C of E primary School

This project will allow school children to be able to grow their own fruit and vegetable produce, building planters and a coldframe. This project is needed to help to teach and develop children’s understanding of where and how their food they eat and enjoy is produced. The group have already transformed an empty school field by adding a garden shed, a willow home, and a garden area for growing, plus about 100 saplings around school. 

The Bee Team Community Orchard The Bee Team

The aim of The Bee Team is to inspire a love, respect and understanding of all things to do with nature and the environment – not just bees. Their mission this year is to involve the children and the community in ‘growing their own’ – herbs, fruit and vegetables. The planting and nurturing of such products will not only provide forage for the bees, spread the message of the importance of pollinators, but show our children where their food comes from. The funding from LDF will be used to purchase and install water saving systems and solar panels for the education shed. 

Saving our native reds Sedbergh red squirrels

Sedbergh Red Squirrel Group raise awareness amongst the local community of the threats to the native red squirrel population in the area. Their volunteer rangers will use funding to set up and maintain any feeders for anyone within our community and we aim to encourage people to get involved in this very important conservation project, and provide squirrel food to help conservation efforts. 

Helping pollinators in Glenridding Ullswater Catchment Management CIC 

The local parish council and community have recently taken control of Jenkins Field in Glenridding to provide a source of sustainable funds towards the community by hosting events, and a large area is to be left as a wildlife area and managed in a manner which will encourage species diversity and wild flower re-instating to help benefit pollinator species. Much of the local farm land is now farmed for silage and therefore consists of far fewer species of grasses and flowers. The community will be heavily involved in the creation and maintenance of the wild area. 

Ullswater ‘Then and Now’ Friends of Ullswater Way 

FOUW undertook a survey in January/February 2020 to determine the Ullswater communities’ interest in promoting cultural heritage. There was overwhelming support and the community decided to create an Ullswater Heritage Knowledge Bank and Website. Support from LDF will further the community engagement and involvement in the project including creation of materials for a roadshow illustrating Ullswater ‘Then and Now’ cultural and landscape changes over time on various themes such as Farming, Tourism, Wordsworth, Industrial Heritage, Education, and Woodlands selected from the Heritage Knowledge Bank. 

If you wish to donate to the Lake District Foundation to help support future local community project you can do so here on our website or text LOVELAKES to 70085 and donate £5*. A small donation makes a big impact.  Thank you.

Orrest Head

“Those few hours cast a spell that changed my life” – Wainwright.

The view from Orrest Head is spectacular, but not everyone can get there to enjoy it because the top section of path is too steep and difficult.

We want to create an alternative path to this special viewpoint suitable for people with limited mobility, including people with powered-wheelchairs and families with pushchairs.

Read More

Funding for local projects 2019

The Lake District Foundation has revealed the nine projects which will receive funds from the latest round of grant funding. The successful projects from across Cumbria each will receive between £1,000 and £2,500.

In total 27 applications were received, making it a difficult task to choose which projects should benefit from funding.

Sarah Swindley, CEO Lake District Foundation said

`Its fantastic to see the local conservation work carried out across the county. Often, this is mainly led by volunteers doing amazing things in their free time. Our natural world would be much poorer without them, and we are happy to support where we can. It’s thanks to our work with local tourism businesses and visitors that we are able to generate this funding, and we would like to thank them for their ongoing support.’

The nine chosen projects were each awarded funding based on criteria including links to the environment, wildlife and cultural heritage. They are:

`Growing Well’ School children will be invited to visit their site at Sizergh Farm to learn how food is grown, what it needs to grow, get hands on in an activity, and discover other wildlife, inspiring future generations to get involved in horticulture and the natural world.

`Bee Hide’ Project (Heron Hill School) will provide a safe, inclusive, viewing area for the children and the wider community to enjoy and learn about bee keeping and the importance of bees in our ecosystem.

The Herdwick Sheep Breeder’s Society was awarded funding for the repair of their marquee which suffered storm damage. This is vital to the future of our local shows and links strongly to our World Heritage status.

Wildlife and Heritage Garden (Calderbridge and Ponsonby Communities) aims to rejuvenate the community areas to attract more wildlife and in so doing bring together different generations.

Swifts in the Community (SITC) have an army of volunteers who monitor the numbers of nesting swifts, which are in decline due to modern building design. They also give lots of local advice about how best to support these world travellers.

Staveley Woodlands (Cumbria Wildlife Trust) is a recently extended nature reserve. The project will involve walling off a section of land, hedging and the installation of bird and bat boxes, as well as creating a trail guide and way markers to guide people around the reserve.

`Space Invaders’ (South Cumbria River’s Trust) This is an ongoing project aimed at eradicating Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) such as Himalayan Balsam, and allowing native wildlife to thrive.

`Farming with Nature’ (Ullswater Catchment CIC) will see 40 wooden cages, each planted on farmland with one oak tree and surrounded by other scrub plants, providing habitat for other wildlife. The trees will help to improve soil structure and aid flood management.

`Coniston Wildflower Meadow’ (Coniston Parish Council) will see the community space in the centre of the village turned into a beautiful wildflower meadow.

The Ullswater Way Fund

Walking the Ullswater Way is a challenge. Just like taking care of its surrounding footpaths. The path welcomes thousands of visitors each year. We need your help to maintain, protect and care for this much loved path.

The LDF Ullswater Way Fund specifically cares for the spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage surrounding England’s second largest lake.

You can support us by:

1. Becoming a business supporter for the Ullswater Way Fund
2. Donate!
3. Running an event? Become an event supporter here
4. Look out for our contactless donation device on the Ullswater Way

A small donation can make a big different

  • £5 helps pay for a new finger post
  • £10 helps pay for a new gate
  • £25 helps pay for a new section of surface path
  • £50 pays for one metre of drystone wall
  • £100 covers the cost of planting an acre of new native woodland
  • £200 could pay for a day’s digger time or a day’s work for a skilled contractor to carry out the repair work

What is the Ullswater Way?

The Ullswater Way, in the Lake District, was created by the local communities and partners to show the Ullswater valley was open for business after the devastating floods in 2015.

The 20 mile circular long-distance walk hugs the shores of England’s second largest lake, Ullswater, taking in the glorious landscape, wildlife and villages along the way.

The route has proved incredibility popular since launching in April 2016, with walkers, runners, day-trippers on the Ullswater Steamers and those taking part in charity challenges.

Popularity comes at a cost

The footfall impacts on the environment, causing footpath erosion and damage.

Ongoing path maintenance work is required. The route needs drainage works, improvements to the path surface, new drystone walling, waymarker signs and help to maintain the general upkeep to ensure the path is litter free.

The money raised through this appeal will be used for this work to be carried out by the Lake District National Park ranger team and volunteers.

Make a donation today here.

The Friends of the Ullswater Way, who were instrumental in creating the Ullswater Way, have launched an annual programme of evening
talks entitled ‘Understanding Ullswater’.

They will take place on the first Thursday of each month. Check out the programme here.

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.

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

lake district world heritage site

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.

Lake District Osprey Project


In 2001 ospreys made a momentous return to the Lake District, after being extinct in England for decades. The ospreys now return from Africa to their nest near Bassenthwaite Lake each spring and more than 19 chicks have fledged since they returned.

The visitor viewpoints at Dodd Wood are great locations for watching the birds fishing in the lake.The viewpoints are open to visitors from April to August and volunteers are on hand to provide information and answer questions about the birds.

Big screens in Whinlatter Visitor Centre show live close-up pictures of the nest throughout the season, thanks to new camera systems. The cameras also help staff and volunteers monitor the nest and carry out round-the-clock surveillance to protect the birds from disturbance and egg collection.

The ‘Osprey Bus’ runs during the season allowing visitors to travel around Bassenthwaite Lake and visit the osprey sites without needing to use their cars. Visit Cumbria County Council’s website for the timetable (Bus 74)

Funds raised support the nest protection work, and help develop the project’s educational facilities, bringing the birds to as wide an audience as possible.


Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path

The 6-month fundraising campaign to raise funds for the reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now complete and we are pleased to announce that a total of over £130,000 has been raised.

Following the floods in December 2015, the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway path suffered serious damage. Two of the old railway bridges that crossed the River Greta and around 200 metres of the path surface were washed away, and Rawsome Bridge was left at risk of collapse.

The campaign was supported by the local community, with businesses, residents, visitors and organisations all playing their part. Donation boxes and campaign materials were displayed in 72 local businesses and many of these business carried out additional fundraising events including quiz nights, selling special products, and taking part in the K2T 5k challenge.

Local businesses boosted the fundraising campaign considerably including a generous donation from HF Holidays. One of their country houses, Derwent Bank, is situated close to the path where several walking routes from the house were are affected by the damage caused by Storm Desmond. HF Holidays donated £20,000 to the campaign. 

Community organisations also got involved, making donations and holding events, including a railway path walk by Braithwaite School which raised over £300 and a national fell running event hosted by Keswick Athletic Club which raised £1,250 from proceeds. On midsummers day, with the support of Keswick Scouts, Keswick Anglers, Keswick Lions, Keswick Town Council and the Love the Lakes shop, a duck race raised a further £1,300 for the campaign.

As part of the campaign The Lake District Foundation hosted its first ever charity auction night and raised over £8,600 from 40 lots. Local businesses and celebrities donated fantastic prizes including a day on the Lake District Fells with Alan Hinkes OBE; the first Briton to climb the world’s highest mountains, the fourteen 8,000m peaks. The Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa kindly donated the venue, canopies, reception drinks and £20 per booking to the campaign.

Members of the public could donate online, by cash, cheque, or Text Giving throughout the campaign and 6 local residents set up sponsored events of their own. Adam Bazire, owner of the Threlkeld Coffee Shop, has raised over £2,300 to date or his challenge to walk the full route of the old railway from Penrith station to the former Keswick station.

Latest News

Full steam ahead for the reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path as Funding is Announced

Keep up to date on the latest developments, news and stories about the build, please visit the Lake District National Park news section here.


Red Squirrels Northern England

The red squirrel is our only native British squirrel but is at serious risk of extinction if population numbers continue to decline. The main cause of this decline is competition with the American grey squirrel, an introduced species which is larger than the red and better able to survive harsh weather and occasional food shortages. It also breeds more successfully and quickly out-competes its red cousin for food.

Cumbria is one of the few counties in the country where red squirrels can still be seen and RSNE is working to protect and increase numbers. They are working with landowners to carry out conservation work to benefit the reds in 5 designated red squirrel reserves at Whinlatter, Thirlmere, Greystoke, Whinfell, and Garsdale/Mallerstang.

The project supports networks of volunteers and contractors to carry out grey squirrel control in these reserves, and their 5km buffer zones, and train volunteers to assist with population surveys and monitoring. They provide education programmes and web-based teaching materials for schools, and work to raise the profile of the red squirrel through educational walks, talks and events for the wider community, signs and interpretation panels at the reserves, their website and local media.

Take a look at the great work that RSNE carry out, thanks to the support of our fantastic fundraisers:


Barkbooth Lot Nature Reserve

Barkbooth Lot

Barkbooth Lot Nature Reserve is situated near the head of the Winster Valley and covers 27 ha of diverse habitat, including rough fell land, oak woodland, meadow and tarns.

Staff have worked to repair walls and fences and add gates so that livestock and deer are kept out of some areas to protect the oak woodland from grazing and allow an understorey of plants to develop. Bluebells carpet the floor of the woodland in spring.

The meadow area is being restored by planting with native species. Scrub is controlled to maintain areas of open grassland that are needed by rare butterflies such as the high brown fritillary. The bracken is controlled in summer  and is grazed by cattle in winter to stop it keep it under control.

Damselflies and dragonflies are numerous around the tarns on Barkbooth Lot and interpretation panels give visitors information about Barkbooth Lot and a path system has been created. Take a look at the great work our fundraisers have supported recently:


Cumbria Outdoors John Muir Award

John Muir

The John Muir Award encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet adaptable scheme. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.

The Award is the main engagement initiative of the John Muir Trust. You can find out more on the John Muir Award website.

Cumbria Outdoors use the John Muir Award with young people aged 7-19. Through activities to enjoy, explore and understand the outdoors they raise awareness of the importance of conserving wild places. As part of this the young people take responsibility for the environment through hands-on activities such as footpath maintenance, woodland management or non-native invasive species control. The Award isn’t competitive but challenges each participant.

Funds are also used to help people get involved who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to do so due to a range of social disadvantage. Take a look at what our fundraisers supported last year:


Dubwath Silver Meadow Wetland Nature Reserve


Dubwath Silver Meadows is a new nature reserve which has been created as part of the Heritage Lottery funded Bassenthwaite Reflections programme.

This seven hectares wetland site was once part of Bassenthwaite Lake and is now home to a range of special wetland flora and fauna.

There are access-for-all paths and boardwalks which take you around the site. Walk through living Willow Hides and stop off at replica Celtic and Norse style shelters. Look out for rare and not so rare plants, flowers and birds and if you’re quiet you could come across the resident roe deer or maybe even a badger if you come at night! Be very quiet and you may spot the Red Squirrels feeding at their hazel nut feeders! Whatever the season, there’s always something to captivate and inspire.

Take a look at what our fundraisers have helped support:


Experience the River

Experience the River

South Cumbria Rivers Trust works to protect and conserve the aquatic environments of South Cumbria. In order to achieve this they provide a local education programme aimed at giving the both the local population and visitors an appreciation of our waters and an improved environmental awareness

‘Experience the River’ days give children from local schools a chance to visit their local rivers, observe the river habitat and sketch and describe the river and wildlife they find there. They have a go at river dipping and use nets, trays and identification keys to find and identify creatures in the river. They investigate the riverbank habitat by collecting plant samples, making rubbings of tree bark and recording any insect life found. They also draw cross sections of the river by measuring the river width and depth. Inspired by the river visit the children then create paintings based on their findings. Funds raised for this project provide for the environmental education of local schoolchildren.

Take a look at the work supported by our fantastic fundraisers:


Fix the Fells Our Man at the Top

The National Trust has four teams of upland path workers, working on fell paths throughout the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western lakes. Over a number of years the teams have evolved into an experienced and highly skilled workforce

To build a sustainable path and recreate a natural landscape, team members must be part craftsperson and part artist. Several new techniques have been developed, and path workers from around the world have visited them to learn new skills and benefit from their expertise.

From March to November, the teams work full-time on the fells, interspersing project work with minor repairs and general maintenance on the whole path network. They often do a week’s work in four days to reduce time lost when walking to remote sites. During the winter the teams move down into the valleys and work on fencing, walling, hedge laying and tree planting on National Trust properties.

These teams consist of local people, providing much needed jobs into local communities. The cost of maintaining each team member is £20,000 per annum. This includes equipment, waterproofs and other costs.

Fix the Fells Our Woman at The Top

Fix the Fells

It is great to know that we have our first woman, Sarah Anderson, who works with one of the four teams of upland path workers, working on fell paths throughout the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western lakes for the National Trust.

From March to November, the teams work full-time on the fells, interspersing project work with minor repairs and general maintenance on the whole path network. They often do a week’s work in four days to reduce time lost when walking to remote sites. During the winter the teams move down into the valleys and work on fencing, walling, hedge laying and tree planting on National Trust properties.

These teams consist of local people, providing much needed jobs into local communities. The cost of maintaining each team member is £20,000 per annum. This includes equipment, waterproofs and other costs.

Take a look at what Sarah has been up to over the past year:

OWATT Project Update

Flowers and Fells Fund

Surveying meadows

The Lake District’s landscape is a patchwork of habitats. Our meadows and peatlands add to the diversity of plants and wildlife we find here, but need our help to be restored back to their former glory.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust works with farmers and small holders to enhance, restore and manage flower-rich hay meadows in the area, using traditional practices to increase plant diversity. They also promote the landscape of hay meadows through events, educational workshops, walks and talks.

Hay meadows are important for the plants they support. A hay meadow can support an incredible 50 plant species/sq. metre! Traditional meadows are still found in Cumbria, where higher altitude meadows support specialist plants species, such as wood crane’s-bill and many of the lady’s mantle species, and lowland meadows, are characterised by a rich diversity of more common plant species. Such a wealth of plant species can in turn provide habitats for many different animal species including the brown hare, insects such as the great yellow bumble bee, and birds such as skylark, curlew, lapwing and twite.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is also helping protect wetlands across Cumbria, demonstrating new restoration techniques and building partnerships to protect Cumbria’s peatlands. The project is working on a wide range of important wetland habitats including fens, blanket bog and lowland raised mire. The majority of these habitats occur on relatively deep peat soils which are collectively known as peatlands … but these peatlands urgently need careful management to reverse the damage caused by drainage, heavy grazing, regular burning, cultivation, forestry and other management.

Restoring the balance of nature in our peatlands benefits both people and wildlife:

  • Carbon storage

Peatlands are the UK’s largest carbon store – with 28.5 million tonnes in the Lake District alone. Our damaged peatlands are decomposing, releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

Water quality and drinking water.

70 per cent of UK drinking water is from upland (generally peat dominated) catchments.

  • Flood control

If the Sphagnum moss is damaged, the surface dries, crumbles and cracks in summer; later rapidly eroding during severe weather. Blocking drains slows run-off, whilst wetlands in valleys store floodwater.

  • Archaeology

Peat has preserved remarkable ancient graves and wooden artefacts that haven’t survived elsewhere.

  • Wildlife

Fascinating specialist species including carnivorous plants have adapted to the harsh peatland environment. Many have population strongholds in Cumbria. The most threatened species depend on the wettest bogs or need large areas of continuous habitat.

Take a look at the great work our fundraisers have supported recently:

Living Seas

Living Seas Projects

Living Seas. What picture does the phrase conjure up? A rocky reef bursting with brightly coloured fish, corals and sponges? A boat trip in the company of leaping dolphins and playful seals? Fishermen hauling nets that are brimful of big, tasty fish? Living Seas are all these things and more.

But the UK’s seas are not Living Seas. Decades of neglect have left them damaged and degraded, a shadow of their former diversity and abundance. We urgently need your help to bring them back to life. The next five years are critical. It is literally ‘make or break’ time. With new laws and Government commitments in the offing, we have a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. If we make the very best of that opportunity, pushing every step of the way, our seas will turn the corner and start to recover their health. If we do not, they will continue on their downward spiral

Living Seas are The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for the future of the UK’s seas. Within Living Seas, marine wildlife thrives, from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows.
In Living Seas:

  • Wildlife and habitats are recovering from past decline as our use of the seas’ resources becomes environmentally sustainable.
  • The natural environment is adapting well to a changing climate, and ocean processes are helping to slow down climate change.
  • People are inspired by marine wildlife and value the sea for the many ways in which it supports our quality of life.

Marine Protected Areas

Our seas are suffering from overfishing, exploitation for resources and damage to natural habitats. Marine Protected Areas – parts of the sea where wildlife and habitats are protected – are key to the future health of our seas, their ecosystems and wildlife.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are places at sea where human activities such as fishing are restricted. They are a tried and tested means of conserving habitats and wildlife at sea and there are many around the world. MPAs don’t just protect wildlife. They can have an influence beyond their boundaries, as growing wildlife populations spill out into the surrounding (non-protected) sea. In the UK there is a well-researched example of this at Lundy in the Bristol Channel where lobster in a ‘no-take’ zone were growing to be larger than those in the surrounding fished area as they were protected from fishing. Eventually the lobsters in the surrounding fished area became larger as they spread out from the area excluded to fishing.

If they are in the right place and part of a wider well-managed network of protected areas, MPAs can bring even greater benefits, improving the overall health of the marine environment and helping it recover from past impacts and sustain current pressures – living seas. To achieve this, MPA networks must protect not just rare and threatened wildlife, but the whole range of ‘typical’ habitats and wildlife found in healthy seas. For us in the UK this includes habitats like our cold water reefs, seagrass meadows, kelp forests and sandy, gravelling or muddy sea floors.

Take a look at the great work our fundraisers have helped support recently:

Living Seas Project Living Seas Project

Small Grants Fund

Our Small Grants Fund allows us to give grants of up to £1,000 to local community groups and organisations for small scale projects which make a difference to local communities. These sorts of projects often otherwise struggle to find funding.

We have supported numerous small projects over the years. Here are some examples:

Windermere and Bowness Civic Society’s Millerground Enhancement Project. Millerground is a publically accessible area on the Windermere lakeshore, 2km north of Bowness and includes footpaths, viewpoints and access to fields and woodland. The area has been neglected and become overgrown and underused by the public as a consequence. The work, involved a wide range of volunteers from Age UK and local schools to remove overgrown vegetation to open up the area to wildflowers, restore footpaths, and replace and install picnic benches.

Giggle Alley Centenary Project. This is an area which lies on a small knoll adjacent to the village of Eskdale Green on the western edge of the Lake District National Park. Extending to nine hectares the mixed woodland has within it a hidden Japanese Garden dating from 1914. Our support enabled the Garden to be maintained for access and enjoyment by the public.

Hincaster Woodland group’s ‘Access to Mabbin Wood’ project. This application was to create a pedestrian gated access from Mabbin Wood Lane into the Hincaster parish portion of the wood.

Take a look at more recent projects here:

2014/15 – 7 projects


Penrith & District Red Squirrels

Founded in 1994 and becoming a registered charity in 2008, Penrith & District Red Squirrel Group (P&DRSG) are committed to preserving native red squirrels in their natural environment by promoting the preservation of the red squirrel population within Penrith & District and their protection from extinction in the wild.

The P&DRSG project is a conservation initiative seeking to protect and maintain the existing and widespread red squirrel population. Covering a vast 600 square miles along the river Eden, Greystoke and Ullswater Valley, the project aims to control grey squirrels, supplementary feed red squirrels, monitor squirrel population densities, manage squirrel pox virus disease outbreaks, raise public awareness and manage teams of rangers & supporters to carry out this vital work.

Residents and visitors alike have opportunities to see red squirrel as they are present in the majority of the suitable habitats in the area. Although some may be privately owned, public access to most of the woodland sites can be obtained via the public footpaths and bridal ways running through them as well as from adjacent public roads and footpaths.

To see the impact your donations have, take a look at the project updates below:


Saving Eden

saving eden

The Eden Invasive Species Project aims to protect the river Eden and its tributaries against the invasion of non-native plants and animals.

This requires the management of invasive species already present, whilst preventing the introduction of new species.

The project involves Eden Rivers Trust Staff and volunteers from the Eden valley and beyond.

Invasive species compete with our native flora and fauna, so their management will benefit local indigenous plants and animals.

The River Eden and its tributaries have conservation designations because species like the Atlantic salmon, white-clawed crayfish, bullhead, water crowfoot and river and brook lamprey can be found there. This project has positive impacts not only for these species, but many others too.

Ullswater Environment Recovery Fund

In December 2015, we launched the Ullswater Environment Recovery Fund in partnership with the Ullswater Association.

In the aftermath of the floods, many residents and businesses in Ullswater were contacted by members of the public who wanted to help to support the recovery of the natural environment. The

Ullswater economy is highly dependent on tourism so it is important that the natural environment and access to it is restored to ensure that visitors keep coming here and the visitor economy can thrive again.

We set up ononline fundraising campaign on the 9th December and were immediately overwhelmed by the generosity of donors. By 31st March 2016 we had raised over £5,600 and in May 2016 we opened the fund to applications, and we are pleased to be funding 2 projects this Autumn:

Project 1 : Slow the Flow in Grisedale

Delivered by: Patterdale Parish Council

“Slow The Flow” is a partnership project that aims to develop a set of sustainable solutions for each of the main becks in Patterdale to both “slow the flow”, and stabilise land in the upstream areas. As a result of the Floods of December 2015 the Parish of Patterdale is working with partner agencies including the Eden Rivers Trust, Natural England, the Lake District National Park and Environment Agency to develop sustainable environmentally friendly solutions to water and land management in the upstream catchment areas of the Dale.

This first Slow the Flow project is a pilot project carried out in the Grisedale Valley, from Grisedale Tarn down to Waterfall Wood in Patterdale in particular, which is owned by Matson Ground Estate. Working with the landowner, Eden Rivers Trust and other agencies, the valley will be mapped and solutions to improve water storage and land stability upstream will be trailed.The knowledge gained in this pilot project will then be used to develop solutions at the other areas of the Dale including Hartsop, Deepdale, Greenside, and Glencoyne. and across similar areas of Cumbria.

Thanks to a £1,000 grant from the Ullswater Environment Recovery Fund, and support from the Cumbria Community Foundation and the Ullswater Community Flood Fund, the pilot project will deliver the following water and land management outcomes:

Water Management

Step 1 – Map Grisedale Beck from Grisedale Tarn to Waterfall wood, monitoring water flow and gravel deposits

Step 2 – Identify solutions for the better management of the beck and slowing of the water flow to range from the creation of potential water storage areas by removing beck banks to the widening of the beck to increase capacity and reduce gravel movement.

Step 3 – Implement the solutions and create a template process for use in other areas

Land Management

Step 1 – Geo-survey of major landslips in the Grisedale Valley, identifying the cause and impact

Step 2 – Identify other potential weak spots for future landslips

Step 3 – Implement land stabilisation programme where required – for example tree planting and again create a template process for use in other areas

The project is critical to creating a sustainable and effective approach to overall water and land management not only in Patterdale but elsewhere. By seeking to develop an environmentally friendly set of solutions the need to protect the downstream settlements in the Dale can be balanced with the needs of protecting the upstream environment. The site is fully accessible to the public, and work by the Eden Rivers Trust, local volunteers and specialist contractors commenced in July and will hopefully be completed by October 2016.

Example of Grisedale Valley Landslip
Example of a landslip in the langdale valley

Project 2 : Angle tarn Beck to Hartsop Access Improvement

Delivered by: Lake District National Park Authority

This project will repair the footpath between Angle Tarn Beck and Hartsop village along the side of Lingy Crag/Brock Crags in the Ullswater Valley. The purpose of the project is to upgrade an existing footpath to reduce damage to the surrounding vegetation and to enable a wider group of users to access the route. The existing route is badly drained and uneven making it inaccessible for some less agile walkers. Currently people are avoiding the poorly-drained boggy sections area and diverting onto the surrounding fellside, damaging vegetation and accelerating soil erosion. Soil that washes off the fell into the lake reduces water quality in Angle Tarn beck and Ullswater, damaging aquatic life.

Thanks to a £1,000 grant from the Ullswater Environment Recovery Fund, and support from the LDNPA Access Improvement Fund, a 500m section of the route will be upgraded with improved drainage and surfacing. The improved drainage will reduce the amount of soil washing off the fell, while improved surfacing will ensure that walkers remain on the path, giving the vegetation chance to recover and prevent further soil erosion.

As well as restoring and protecting the natural vegetation and water quality of the Ullswater valley, local residents and visitors will benefit from improved access the popular route. Last year a new footbridge was installed at Angletarn to and improvements to this footpath will further improve access to the fells. The site is fully accessible to the public, and work by the National Trust, National Park and tenant farmer will commence in September and hopefully be completed by November.

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