Caring for Keswick’s Mountains

National Trust raising funds to replace flooded footpath at Derwent Water

Nearly 250,000 people walk the lakeshore path around Derwent Water each year – but it has a problem: in 2015 Storm Desmond changed the course of a beck that flows into Ings Wood, and now the path is almost permanently covered by inches of muddy water. This is a problem for walkers and runners, and people struggle to find their way through they’re creating erosion that threatens the fragile wildlife habitat. So Keswick Mountain Festival are helping the National Trust raise donations towards replacing the path and other vital conservation work here in Borrowdale.
A wildlife haven

The name Ings wood comes from Old Norse – it means ‘wet meadow’. The little fragment of woodland is in fact an internationally significant wet woodland habitat. Alders and willow grow straight out of the standing water and are surrounded by lush wetland vegetation which provides vital habitat for species like otters, birds like the locally rare water rail and plants like guelder rose. Brockle Beck spreads out from its river bed and slowly filters through the woodland as it gradually moves towards the lake, creating the northern English equivalent of a mangrove swamp; it’s an incredibly special place for nature.
The ground is soft deep mud, created by year after year of silt deposited by the lake and the river. The trouble is, it’s so soft that every footprint damages it – especially as people try to pick their way round the flooded path, causing erosion that could take years to recover naturally.
A long term solution
he best solution is to create a brand new boardwalk through the wood, like the one that already goes through the wetland at the south end of Derwent Water. Built from recycled plastic it would last for years, it would provide a secure dry route for walkers and runners, and it would protect the fragile natural habitat from damage. Best of all, the boardwalk could be routed right through the heart of the woodland rather than round the edges where the current path goes, giving people the chance to immerse themselves in the natural world, leaving the cares of the modern world far behind them.
A plastic boardwalk is around 4 times more expensive than a traditional path – the entire boardwalk would cost around £100,000 and as an independent registered charity no.205846 we only have about half that amount. Meanwhile every day the fragile wildlife habitat becomes more vulnerable to damage as people struggle to make their way through.
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. 


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