By Geoff Courtney
Members of the Lake District Foundation are celebrating the success of a campaign to raise funds towards the reopening of part of the former Cockermouth Keswick & Penrith Railway, a popular path until being devastated by floods nearly three years ago.
The three miles of trackbed between Keswick and Threlkeld had become a popular attraction to walkers, tourists and cyclists since its opening as a trail in 1985, but in December 2015 Storm Desmond struck the area with devastating results, and none more so than on this stretch of former railway.
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Two original railway bridges crossing the River Greta and 220 yards of embankment were washed away, a third bridge was damaged, and a section of raised boardwalk destabilised.
The damage was estimated at nearly £5½ million, and last December Highways England provided a grant of £2½ million from a fund for paths that were suitable for off-road cycling, and so reduced the need for cyclists to use busy roads.
In addition, the Lake District National Park Authority announced a fundraising partnership with the Lake District Foundation, which finances conservation, environmental and cultural heritage projects, and this has now passed the six-figure mark – a landmark described by foundation director Sarah Swindley as “a testament to the amazing community spirit in Keswick.”
Read more in Issue 246 of HR – on sale now!
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