Conservation Works In Derwent Riverlands Set To Benefit From Charitable Funds Thanks To Keswick Mountain Festival-Goers.

Crow Park will soon be welcoming back keen walkers, runners, swimmers and cyclists to the annual Keswick Mountain Festival taking place on 10-12th September, 2021. As the Festival’s official charity, the National Trust is thrilled that the event is raising funds for conservation work in the area, at a time when it is needed more than ever.

As outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the scenic, natural backdrop to the annual Festival, funds raised by the event will contribute to the work planned to care for the rivers, lakes and fells that the National Trust and its partners – including the Environment Agency - look after. Riverland projects to ‘slow the flow’ from summit to sea, such as the river restoration in the southern valley and peat restoration in the Borrowdale fells, will directly benefit from the charitable support, as will the wildlife and people that depend on it.

Close to the hearts of locals and visitors alike is the River Derwent, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Home to otters, Atlantic salmon and vendace, the UK’s rarest freshwater fish, it is facing increasing pressures from tourism, changing farming legislation, and climate change that is increasing rainfall in the wettest part of England. Many stretches of the river and its tributaries have been modified over hundreds of years which has lead to it moving away from its original course along the bottom of the valley. In some places, slow, meandering waterways have been changed to straightened, fast-moving becks or rivers disconnected from their historic floodplains and that respond quickly to rainfall.

Future projects that will benefit include pond creation and the restoration of floodplain hay meadows on land between Lake Bassenthwaite and Cockermouth, working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust and United Utilities on peat restoration at Armboth Fell, as well as river repairs that include removing embankments and re-meandering small sections of waterway in Borrowdale to help slow the flow into Derwentwater and improve the river systems for wildlife.

Hannah Haydock, Senior Project Coordinator at the National Trust says: “We’re so grateful to Keswick Mountain Festival for continuing to support these conservation projects, such as those bringing our essential waterways flowing back to life. Their charitable support will help us to protect and preserve the places and spaces people love – and will continue to care for the wildlife that depends on it.”

Within a short walk of the Festival venue is The Ings woodland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the east shore of Derwentwater, where the Riverlands project team worked to restore the wet woodland habitat. With the help of part-funding by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the team replaced the old wooden path with a raised boardwalk made from recycled plastic which improved access for everyone and allows water to transition through the woodland unimpeded.

As the charitable partner to Keswick Mountain Festival, the funds raised will contribute to helping future projects that look after the health of rivers in the area, creating better habitat for wildlife whilst maintaining the intrinsic value of this World Heritage site. 

Runners taking part in the adidas TERREX 5K Trail Run during 2019 KMF
Runners taking part in the adidas TERREX 5K Trail Run during 2019 KMF - photo Paul Mitchell - Wildman Media