Double your donation for new Windermere project

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Swindley, Lake District Foundation CEO said:

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

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

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

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

We only have 7 days to reach our goal.”

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

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

Lake District Foundation Ambassador Thao Nunns said:

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

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

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

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

Support the campaign at lakedistrictfoundation.org/biggive

We’ve got a fresh new look!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New work to support farmers across Windermere

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Grant Fund

The Sustainable Grant Fund, supported by Booking.com, is designed to support small accommodation providers based in the Lake District to adopt environmentally friendly practices.

The Real Hedge Fund

Sadly over the last 70 years our hedgerows have become significantly reduced both in the length and in quality. Now seems a really excellent opportunity to engage and support farmers, landowners and communities to reinstate and improve their hedgerows. 

Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Climate Action

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

  1. Cleaner Lakes

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

  1. Biodiversity

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

  1. Inclusion and accessibility

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

  1. Cultural Heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thank you <3

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National Trails

We’ve partnered with Natural England to work towards the opening of 2 new National Trails, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast and the King Charles III Path.

Pardoe sets new World Record for Windermere swim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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