Caring for Keswick’s Mountains

National Trust raising funds to repair erosion damaged footpaths beside Derwent Water

Nearly 250,000 people walk the lakeshore path around Derwent Water each year – but it has a problem: every footfall, combined with winter storms, creates erosion damage that can wash sediment into the lake which threatens its special wildlife. So Keswick Mountain Festival is helping the National Trust raise donations towards repairing the paths and other vital conservation work near Keswick.

So what’s the problem?

Sediment in the lake is a problem because Derwent Water is home to England’s rarest freshwater fish – the vendace – and silt, soil and mud can cover up the gravels they need to lay their eggs, and the extra nutrients in the water can cause algal blooms that starve the fish of oxygen.

But it’s not just the vendace that are under pressure. Derwent Water is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it also has rare freshwater plants that grow from the lake bed, like water plantain. These are also threatened by an alien invasive species – New Zealand Pygmyweed – which was introduced to the lake some years ago and is now threatening to take over completely, and which thrives on the extra mud and silt washed in from erosion damage.
A long term solution

There are lots of things the National Trust is working on to help protect Derwent Water – including bio-security measures for swimmers to make sure the New Zealand Pygmyweed isn’t spread to other lakes.

The most urgent one is to repair and upgrade paths near Derwent Water to make them more flood resilient so that winter storms don’t create the same sediment problem in the future. One method we use is to install short stretches of boardwalk, like the one already at the far end of the lake.  Another method is to move sections of path to higher ground, out of the reach of waves.

How you can help

You can make this project and others like it, possible by adding a donation when you buy your ticket for Keswick Mountain Festival. Every penny donated will go towards our conservation work in Borrowdale.

Help the UK’s rarest freshwater fish by adding a donation
A flooded path beside Derwent Water
Support the National Trust’s work to care for Keswick’s mountain landscape


National Trust logo }
National Trust logo