Bragging about big benefits

One of the Lake District’s western jewels is celebrating completion of an £88,000 scheme to make a picture postcard community more accessible. 

Residents from the Eskdale area decided to take matters into their own hands to help improve paths, particularly for those arriving on the famous Ratty narrow-gauge railway.

The Boot Riverside Action Group (BRAG) teamed up with the Lake District National Park, other public bodies, organisations and businesses to find funding for major improvements to around four kilometres of beautiful trails.

LDNP project ranger Phil Clague said the project was a great example of people working together to get the best results for visitors and locals alike.

He explained: “Thousands of holiday makers arrive here on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, arguably the most scenic line in the whole country. Many are families, not clad for walking, but wanting to explore a bit before their return journey.

“The network of informal trails were not well signed, or maintained, but offered fantastic opportunities to see this spectacular part of the Lakes. Countless visitors were not getting to the classic locations like Stanley Gill, St Catherine’s church, the Esk’s riverbank, or Eskdale Mill.

“There was also an unsurfaced byway to the church and some houses. Part of the scheme included tarmacking the road, making it easier for general use.

“This has been an incredible, multi-faceted mission, including organising permission from landowners to formalise public rights of way, producing information panels and walking leaflets and bringing people together for very successful outcomes.

“This stunning western coastal area offers a breath-taking experience and our staff and volunteers have been delighted to be part BRAG’s vision to make things better for everyone. Hopefully, visitors will stay longer and support local businesses into the bargain.”

Donations from residents and businesses were boosted by Heritage Lottery Fund, Lake District National Park and Copeland Community Fund.