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Eden Rivers Trust awarded £2.6m to break down the barriers to Eden’s rivers and natural heritage

Monday 8 April, 2024, by News Release

Cumbrian river conservation charity, Eden Rivers Trust has received a grant of £2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of their exciting heritage partnership project, Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges.  

Added to money raised by the project’s partners, that will see a total of £2.6 million spent on people and the environment in the Eden over the next four years.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges will remove the barriers that prevent people and wildlife from accessing the natural heritage of East Cumbria and ‘build the bridges’ needed so that they enjoy and thrive in, on and beside Eden’s rivers.

This will include improvements to walks and trails, coupled with better information plus opportunities for all ages and abilities to get closer to nature, so that more people can explore, enjoy and care for Eden’s rivers.

Another major part of the project involves community-led practical conservation projects at eight ‘doorstep’ sites that are within easy reach of urban areas along the length of the river Eden – creating sustainable, healthy, thriving natural spaces. Whilst developing the project, people who faced the greatest barriers to accessing nature told us that having safe, accessible places to access nature on their doorstep was vital.

Elizabeth Radford, Chief Executive, Eden Rivers Trust, said:

“All the partners in this project love the Eden Valley and the special natural places found here, from the river’s source in Mallerstang to the sea beyond Carlisle. This grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow more people to experience the magic of those places, many of whom currently find themselves excluded.  Through sharing these places, we hope more people from different communities will be encouraged to join in with caring for the Eden; our countryside and our wonderful river.”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

We are delighted to support Eden Rivers Trust with this project that will encourage a thriving, wildlife-rich river landscape and connect local people with the natural heritage of East Cumbria. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, it is great to know that this rich heritage will be safeguarded for years to come, and communities will be able to explore the wonderful nature right on their doorstep.”

Derek Twine, Deputy Chair and Member Champion for Promoting Understanding at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said:

“We are excited to be part of the Access to Eden project: Breaking barriers, building bridges. As part of the partnership for this project we will be supporting the access and engagement elements of the project in Smardale and Podgill, making it even easier for people to access and enjoy this most stunning part of the National Park”.

Leading a river revival

The 14-strong partnership led by Eden Rivers Trust brings together local councils, environmental organisations, river user and transport groups, community groups and accessibility campaigners whose knowledge and expertise will unlock rivers and nature for more people than ever before, providing opportunities to connect them to the wonder that is the natural world found in the wider Eden valley.

Elizabeth added:

“The project partners have raised £600,000 of match funding from over 20 sources to contribute to this project: including both Cumbrian Councils, charitable trusts and some generous private donors – already a huge community effort which will be recognised throughout the project alongside the incredible contribution from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.”

Find out more about the project and partners on the ERT website

Project partners:

  • Access the Dales
  • Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust
  • Cumberland Council
  • Cumbria Canoeists the delivery partner of the British Canoeing Cumbria Regional Development Team
  • Cumbria Wildlife Trust
  • Eden Rivers Trust
  • NHS North Cumbria Integrated Care
  • North Pennines National Landscape
  • Northern Viaduct Trust
  • Penrith and Eden Refugee Network
  • Penrith Town Council
  • Westmorland and Furness Council
  • Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
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News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


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