We’ve completed a major programme of improvement works at Longlands Lake near Cleator Moor, including footpath resurfacing, a new wheelchair-accessible dipping platform, a replacement boat ramp, bank stabilisation to prevent footpath erosion, a replacement culvert, and a new wildflower area.
The work was funded by Sellafield Ltd and Cumbria County Council.
Erosion under the footpath between the lake and the River Ehen had led to a risk of the path being washed away and the lake being lost. A vital 25-metre stretch of this riverbank has been stabilised, securing the long-term future of the site and enabling people to continue to enjoy the walk around the whole lake.
Accessibility has also been improved. A new wheelchair-accessible dipping platform has been created at the pond in the family wildlife area, and the resurfaced path will improve connectivity by enabling wheelchair users and families with pushchairs easy access around the whole lake.
Wildlife benefits were also key. Turf was taken from another part of the park to ensure the repaired banks revegetated and recovered quickly. The area with the missing turf will now be sown with wildflowers and plants for bees and other pollinators, whilst a broken culvert was replaced to improve connectivity between aquatic habitats.
Karin Crofts, Project Officer, said: “The site is looking absolutely fantastic and we want to say a massive thank you to our contractors, and the local community who have been patient with us while the works have been going on. We have had such positive feedback from everyone so far and it’s wonderful to think they will be able to enjoy this lovely site for many years to come.”
Cllr David Southward, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Cumbria County Council, said: “Cumbria County Council has been pleased to work with West Cumbria Rivers Trust on this project which has protected and improved this well-used local asset. It has also helped draw the community together to take an interest in and care for the site.”
The work is part of the People on the Keekle project, which also includes a range of events and family activities that will continue in the coming months. The project team will also be designing a wildlife trail around the site which will include interactive waymarking posts, and encouraging the community to help create another living willow hide in the small pond area and to join them for some willow maintenance on the existing hide.
Tackling Himalayan balsam has been ongoing for months too, with a dedicated local team meeting up on Monday mornings from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Removing this invasive species will enable native flora to thrive which will prevent further riverbank erosion. New members are welcome to join the team.
The People on the Keekle project is funded by Sellafield Ltd. Further funding for the footpath resurfacing was provided by Cumbria County Council’s Environment Fund.