The Lake District National Park has announced a plan to construct a new multi-user trail linking the north and south Lakes over Dunmail Raise, where the vital A591 Keswick-Grasmere trunk road is still out of use following the December 2015 floods.
While the main road is still undergoing repairs a temporary road is being used for authorised vehicles, but it's not ideal mixing buses with cyclists and pedestrians. As an alternative the new trail will provide a road-free route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The 1.3km trail is a re-working of an existing right of way on the west side of the A591 from Dunmail Raise to southern end of Thirlmere. The surrounding land has a steep gradient in places and is subject to heavy rainfall, so a new tarmac surface will be needed on the trail, says the Park Authority. They do however promise that it will be laid in a way sympathetic to the landscape.
Director of Sustainable Development for the Lake District National Park, Steve Ratcliffe, said:
'We are delighted to be starting work on this route. In the short term this will ease the challenges of mixing vehicles, cycles and pedestrians over the temporary A591 road, and will offer a more attractive, separate route over Dunmail.'
There's a long-term benefit too, he suggests, 'securing an important cycle route linking the southern and northern Lakes, and supporting the local economy in those communities.'
Weather permitting the project will take six weeks, they reckon, beginning in March.
LDNP Area Ranger Graham Standring explains more about this project: