Updated 17 September 2020
The £7.9 million project to reconnect the much loved Keswick to Threlkeld railway trail is nearing completion with only two months to go to its long awaited reopening.
A one kilometre (0.6 mile) urban section of the trail opened last month and is already being well used by the local community.
As part of the project, a new section of the route has been constructed to replace the trackbed which was washed away during Storm Desmond, when floodwater from the River Greta engulfed the trail and surrounding farmland.
We have worked with neighbouring landowners to create a new 300m section to fully reconnect the accessible route. The surrounding area is important for local sheep farming so fences and underpasses have been constructed so that farmers can continue using the land for lambing and grazing.
Work to protect the riverbank from future flooding is also underway. Stone filled baskets will provide additional strength to the banks, whilst fixed bundles of brushwood will help absorb the powerful, energy of the river and prevent further bank erosion.
In addition 35 oak saplings will be planted alongside the existing oak woodland. The mixture of tree ages will help provide valuable habitat and food source for many insects, birds and other animals, including the iconic red squirrel.27 August 2020
Great news! Now that the majority of the work along the Keswick urban section is complete – the national park working closely with Cubby Construction Ltd have been able to remove some of the safety barriers and fencing.
Our contractor, Cubby Construction, have been carrying out in-river works to strengthen and stabilise flood damaged river banks and to protect them and the trail against any future damage. River Greta in-river working is carried out under an Environment Agency flood activity permit. This work has to be carried out between mid-June and late September to avoid any ecological impacts and reduce any potential flood risk.
Part of the work has involved repairing an area of erosion (or scour hole) in the bank below the big tunnel. The damaged area was backfilled with locally sourced rock and material; additional strength and protection was provided by rock roll, which will also defend the bank against future flooding events.
Recently we have said a final goodbye to the raised boardwalk which was dismantled following the re-opening of the tunnel. For those of you who remember, the boardwalk was constructed in 2000 to replace the stepped route over the steep bank under the A66 flyover bridge. The boardwalk, along with the adjacent earthwork improvements, created an improved access for cyclists and wheelchair users. The new trail will be suitable for all users, using the tunnel once again.
Work will be now be carried out to ensure the area surrounding the boardwalk is returned to its natural state.
Thank you to Cubby Construction for this video showing progress so far on many areas of the project.
Thank you to Cubby Construction for this video of Low Pearson's Bridge being launched over the River Greta. It's important to highlight that this was filmed on March 6, prior to any social distancing restrictions due to Covid-19.
We will be starting woodland management work adjacent to the trail, behind Latrigg Close, Keswick in early February. The woodlands along the old railway line are in our (or adjacent) landownership and have been actively managed for over 20 years. Works such as coppicing, thinning and felling constitutes good woodland management and supports a varied and healthy wildlife habitat. Managing the trees also ensures the safety of people using the trail.
Coppicing this relatively young, self-seeded woodland strip will promote strong, healthy regrowth and provide greater screening between the trail and residential housing at Latrigg Close. Non-native species, such as Leylandii and laurel will be removed to promote a more natural, native species woodland strip, whilst opening the canopy and allowing more sunlight in to enhance the ground flora.
An ecological survey has been carried out in advance of the works and confirmed that there are no bat roosts or red squirrel drays in this area. Autumn and winter are optimum times to carry out woodland management so careful consideration has been given to other hibernating species, such as hedgehogs. Residents of Latrigg Close were consulted in advance of the works.
Work to construct 200m of new trail is well underway at Brundholme Bottoms where the original route and trackbed was washed away during Storm Desmond. We have built in underpasses to allow the farmer to access land and livestock either side of the trail. Vulnerable lengths of riverbank will also be protected against future flooding.
The zig zag path at the Threlkeld end of the trail has now been surfaced. Work to re-seed and landscape the area will begin in spring 2020. The gentle gradients of the path will provide greater ease of use for people with limited mobility.
We are pleased to announce that we will be organising some hard hat tours of the trail in the New Year with our construction partner Cubby Construction. This will give people an opportunity to visit the trail as it is being rebuilt and get up close to the people involved in the project. Keep a look out for the dates.
The western arch of the big tunnel or Bobbin tunnel sees light after 40 years of being buried during the construction of the Greta Bridge in the 1970s.
The path closures are in place to ensure that the health and safety of the public as the area is now an active construction site, under the management and responsibility of our contractor - Cubby Construction. We will continue to update the webpage and our Facebook group and will send out regular updates throughout the project.
Note: the programme below is current as of 4 October 2019. Completion dates may need to be revised during the project to reflect any changes to the schedule of work. All works will be completed and the site handed back to the management of the LDNPA by December 2020.
Big tunnel excavation: Sept 2019 – Nov 2020. All works to the tunnel including extension and stonework completed by April 2020. Expected to re-open August 2020.
Low Pearson’s Bridge: Bridge totally destroyed during floods. Structural work to abutments and revetments Sept 2019 – Nov 2019. Completed by April 2020.
Brundholme Bridge. Replace the bridge lost in floods. The bridge was badly damaged and the river span increased by approximately 20m. Structural work to abutments and revetments Sept 2019 – Nov 2019. Completed by April 2020.
Brundholme Bottoms:Construction of a new section of path to replace 200m washed away during floods. Complete Sept 2020. Bank stabilisation and protection works.
Rawsome’s Bridge: Bridge damaged and weakened during floods.
Threlkeld zig zag path: Construction of a graded path to increase accessibility for all users. Sept – Dec 2019.
See our plan to reconnect the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway trail below.
Latest maps showing alternative routes, Keswick town centre routes and plans for works.
You will find information panels near the trail indicating where alternative routes are available.Latest maps and plans
We are committed to working with the community, landowners, businesses and other local organisations to reconnect the route between Keswick and Threlkeld for the enjoyment of walkers, cyclists and those with limited mobility. Due to the extensive scale of the damage it is estimated that this could take up to two years. In the interest of public safety we have closed off all damaged and missing bridges and we ask everyone to take note of the warning signs and not to remove any of the safety fencing or notices.
We are now working to develop plans for reconnecting the route at locations where the bridges are missing or damaged. We will keep the public updated by sharing project information, including the information presented at the public meetings held by Capita in January 2017.
If you would like to be notified of any significant updates regarding the Keswick to Threlkeld trail developments.