West Cumbria Rivers Trust has announced it has received over £2,000 from the Lake District Foundation and £2,000 from the Lake District National Park Authority Communities Fund for a project to improve the habitat of Dash Beck, near Bassenthwaite.
The project, in partnership with Bassenthwaite Rotary Club, will improve the in-stream and riparian habitat for a range of species, particularly salmon and trout. Fish surveys conducted by West Cumbria Rivers Trust over the last three years have illustrated that Dash beck is not meeting its potential as a salmon and trout spawning stream. The project will reduce sediment inputs to the beck, increase in-stream habitat diversity and allow more light to reach the river bed, improving the conditions for salmon and trout. Management of the riverside woodland will also enhance its suitability for a wide variety of species.
Work will also be carried out to maintain the footpath alongside Dash Beck down to a quiet area of Bassenthwaite lake shore, where it joins a network of other footpaths, including the long distance ‘Allerdale Ramble’ trail. The project will reduce the risk of bank erosion, making the footpath safer and improving access to the lake, benefiting the local community and visitors alike.
Tasks will include clearing and repairing the footpath; stabilising the eroding bank with natural materials; coppicing bankside woodland (cutting the trees back to stimulate growth); pulling up non-native invasive Himalayan balsam plants; and fencing off the beck and footpath from the farmland. As much work as possible will be carried out by volunteers, and activities will give them the opportunity to learn about the stream and the threats it faces. Volunteers from Bassenthwaite Rotary Club have been heavily involved in identifying the issues and will continue to monitor the beck and undertake some of the practical works.
Project Officer Caitlin Pearson said “We’re really pleased to have received this funding. With just a few small improvements we can help Dash beck provide high quality habitat for wildlife and better opportunities for people to enjoy this beautiful area. It’s great to be able to work with local people to deliver the works.”
The Lake District Foundation raises funds for projects that care for the spectacular landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Lake District and Cumbria. Sarah Swindley, Director of the Lake District Foundation says: “We are delighted to be able to award funds to this fantastic local project. We are so grateful to the generous visitors and residents who love the Lake District and have made a donation.” The Lake District Communities Fund is dedicated to supporting communities across the National Park, providing funding to projects that will contribute to their sustainability or wellbeing, develop high quality amenities, improve habitats and wildlife and celebrate the historic environment.