New funding package for Lake District farmers

Published on: 23 Jun 2021

Yew Tree Farm

Farmers in the Lake District National Park will be able to benefit from a new national grants programme from 1 July, with more than £1 million available locally this year.

The three-year grants programme - Farming in Protected Landscapes – has been launched by Defra and will be managed locally by the Lake District National Park Authority. The funding aims to help farm businesses adapt for the future, become more resilient and prepare for Environmental Land Management.

The programme was announced today alongside other Government proposals to support nature recovery within protected landscapes, and help more people from all parts of society access Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.

The Lake District’s unique farming heritage and traditions have helped create this special place over thousands of years and played a key role in the Lake District being designated a World Heritage site in 2017. Farming has shaped the Lake District landscape, with the upland farming of iconic breeds, like Herdwick sheep. Alongside distinctive farm houses, barn structures, dry stone walls, and pack horse bridges, these are all things that are uniquely Lake District.

The Lake District National Park Authority wants to continue to work with farmers, landowners, communities and businesses to balance sustainable, productive, and profitable land management choices to address and adapt, and recover from the threats facing farming, nature, climate and communities.

The new programme will look at funding Lake District projects under one or more of these four headings:

Climate – includes projects that help address climate change like re-wiggling a straightened watercourse, for the biodiversity and natural flood management benefits this can bring, or assisting a farm to take actions to reduce carbon emissions.

Nature – includes work that supports nature-friendly sustainable farms, allowing natural processes to develop across an area of land, or wetland creation to support a variety of wildlife.

People – includes projects that provide opportunities for people to engage with the landscape. This could be working with new audiences to help them experience the Lake District, or being able to offer farm walks to help give people a greater insight into farming. Or it could be improving parking facilities, or replacing stiles with gates to make routes more accessible for locals and visitors.

Place – includes work that supports cultural heritage, this could be conserving historic features on a farm or repairing dry stone walls. Or, supporting a locally-branded food initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced.

The Lake District National Park Authority’s Farming Officer, Andrea Meanwell welcomes this new scheme. She says:

“Farmers and land managers living and working in the Lake District have a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges we face in our unique landscapes and communities.

“Our farmers are custodians of the National Park, and this funding will give them flexibility to decide how best to take advantage of the opportunities, address the challenges and continue to look after our special Lake District landscape.”

Andrea Meanwell continues: “Before applying, please contact us to discuss your application, our contact details and full details of the programme are available here.”

Applications for the first year of Programme funding should be made between 1st July 2021 and 31st January 2022, and grant funding decisions will be made on a monthly basis.

The proposals announced by Government today follow the independent review led by Julian Glover which called for action to make our protected landscapes greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.

The Lake District is one of 44 different protected landscapes in England. Including, in Cumbria, Arnside and Silverdale AONB, Solway Coast AONB, North Pennines AONB and Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Photo, courtesy of National Trust, shows: Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, Lake District National Park

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