Press release

New £3.5m Cumbria Footpath Fund Launched

A new £3.5m fund to help repair and improve Cumbria’s public rights of way damaged by Storm Desmond in December was launched today by Floods Minister Rory Stewart.

Photo of the Lake District

The Cumbria Countryside Access Fund will help to attract tourists back to Cumbria by making it easier to explore the Lake District and Cumbria’s countryside on foot as well as directly benefiting residents.

Individual grants from a minimum of £100,000 are available for landowners or public bodies and will cover reinstating and improving rights of way for rural towns and villages, visitor attractions, long distance trails and those passing through environmentally sensitive areas such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The maximum grant that can be offered is £1 million in each of the North, East and South Lake District areas and £500,000 in rural areas of Cumbria outside of the Lake District National Park.

The fund launch comes after Floods Minister Rory Stewart reopened the storm-damaged A591 last week – ensuring the Lake District is open for business this summer.

Floods Minister Rory Stewart said:

This money will help re-open many walks and areas that suffered in the dreadful December floods, providing a great boost for local communities and getting the message out loud and clear that Cumbria is very much open for business.

The county’s landscapes are some of the most precious and beautiful in the country and I would recommend to anyone that they come and see what they have to offer.

Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency Mark Grimshaw said:

The Cumbrian countryside, including the Lake District National Park, includes some of the most beautiful scenery that England has to offer and is a major feature of the local tourist economy.

Creating this new Cumbria Countryside Access Fund will help restore rights of way popular with locals and visitors, as well as protect them from any future instances of flooding.

The Cumbria Countryside Access Fund will provide:

  • £3m for reinstating and improving pathways in the Lake District National Park,
  • £500,000 for pathways in rural areas of Cumbria outside of the National Park.

This is part of the EU funded Rural Development Programme for England and the fund will be open for applications from Monday 16th May and will close at 5pm on 13th June.

Notes to editors:

The Fund is open to public bodies and landowners and will cover up to 100% of eligible costs for reinstating and improving:

  • rights of way that lead to or connect rural towns and villages, visitor attractions or assets
  • multi user and long distance trails
  • rights of way that pass through environmentally sensitive areas such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest The £3.5m Cumbria Countryside Access Fund is fully funded by the EU Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and consists of:

  • £2m for the Lake District National Park from central RDPE funds, and
  • £1.5m from the RDPE Growth Programme allocation to the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership area, of which £1m is intended for the Lake District National Park, and £500,000 for pathways in Cumbria outside of the national park area.

The Rural Payments Agency will be running a workshop for potential applicants on Tuesday 24 May at 9.30am at the Environment Agency, Ghyll Mount, Gillan Way, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 9BP. Anyone wishing to attend must confirm their attendance by e-mailing caf@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

Application forms and guidance for the new fund can be obtained by emailing caf@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

For press enquiries only please contact: Wayne Coles, Media Manager, The Rural Payments Agency Tel: 0118 9687577

Published 16 May 2016