Full steam ahead for the reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path as funding is announced

Press release 
5 December 2018

A £7.9 million funding package has been agreed to allow work to start on the final phase of reconnecting the Keswick to Threlkeld multi user trail which was severely damaged in Storm Desmond three years ago to the day (5 December).

Today is an important milestone in this complex project which has required significant work to get to this stage, and it is fitting that key funding partners and local users gathered to mark this development exactly three years since the fateful storm.

Funding has been approved so far from Highways England and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Additionally, community fundraising by the Lake District Foundation has resulted in a £130,000 donation all which will enable the project to go ahead.

Richard Leafe, Chief Executive of Lake District National Park said: “Storm Desmond caused unprecedented amounts of damage to communities, trails and bridges across the national park. This particular trail offers a great family-friendly, traffic-free route from town to village, it will be fully accessible to many people, such as cyclists, walkers and runners. It has taken some time but we have always been fully committed to making sure that it is reconnected for the benefit of all.

“Local fundraising has played a huge part in ensuring that this project can go ahead, demonstrating the strength of public feeling about this important trail. We’re thrilled that we now have the money in place to allow work to go ahead to complete the full reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld trail and make the route more resilient along the way.”

Construction contracts are currently out to tender and the trail construction partners will be announced in the near future. The aim is to start work in the New Year and have the route fully reopened within two years.

Highways England has committed a significant portion of the funding to allow this project to progress.

Bruce Parker, Highways England’s head of planning and development for the North West, said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide almost half the £7.9 million needed to restore and enhance the link between Keswick and Threlkeld, which was so badly damaged in Storm Desmond exactly three years ago and are looking forward to the re-construction work getting underway in the New Year.

“Highways England has set aside £250 million for projects like this focusing on supporting pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian users of the road network.  This money along with other special funds – for example supporting growth and housing and environmental improvements – is enabling us to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the people, communities and businesses who live and work alongside our strategic road network.”

Sarah Swindley, CEO, Lake District Foundation said: “We ran a fundraising initiative this year and were completely blown away by the generosity of the local community and visitors to the area. We look forward to seeing the work start and progress over the next two years.”

During Storm Desmond, on 5 December 2015, two bridges that cross the River Greta and around 200 metres of path were completely washed away during the worst floods the county has seen and Rawsome Bridge was also later closed to ensure public safety.

Since then, the Lake District National Park has been working with key partners from the public and voluntary sectors on a plan to fully reconnect the route. As part of this work, a value for money study was undertaken and concluded that the restoration of the route could bring back about £2 million a year to the local economy.

This next phase will ensure the entire route will be reconnected and can once again be enjoyed by the local community and visitors to the area.

Photo shows key partners gathered at Brundholme where work will start along with some of the locals who are looking forward to the trail being reconnected.

L- R Richard Leafe LDNPA, Jonathan Reade, Highways England, Sarah Swindley, Lake District Foundation, Brittany Mason from ERDF and Amos Doran, Keswick Bikes.

Find out more information on www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/keswickrailway

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.

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