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.

Warton Crag

Warton Crag nature reserve is part of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and overlooks Morecambe Bay in Lancashire. The reserve has a rich variety of habitats including areas of limestone pavement and ledges, with mixed woodland, limestone grassland and scrub.

Warton Crag is extremely important nationally because it is home to several rare butterfly species. These include northern brown argus, pearl bordered fritillary and high brown fritillary, which are UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species, and the small pearl bordered fritillary which is listed as a species of conservation concern.

The habitats that these species favour are under constant threat of encroachment by scrub and dense bracken. To keep the areas open the Wildlife Trust and local volunteers cut scrub, manage the bracken, coppice the woodland and use cattle to graze them. By working with local volunteers the project hopes to strengthen links with the local community, raise awareness and increase support to assist with management and monitoring work at Warton Crag in the future.

Donations help support and extend the management work, take a look at what our fundraisers supported last year:


Adopt a Stone

From 2015 – 2018 the Lake District Foundation hosted a website called “Adopt a Stone”.

Donors could leave a message on a virtual stone along Hadrian’s Wall in exchange for a one-off or recurring donation.

Funds raised were distributed to projects that delivered or complemented the objectives of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Status and Trail management plans.

Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign.

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