We’re sharing all of this and more, on our social media accounts, so make sure you’re following us via our Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We've been doing our homework...
Now that the staff at Friends of the Lake District are all working from home, we're having to get used to some new ways of working and tools to help us connect with each other while the office is closed. A daily catch-up using 'Zoom' video conferencing means that we all get to see each other and compare notes on 'home-working' which we're all having to adapt to.

We thought we 'd introduce a staff member each week and a picture of their temporary workplace.

Kate: My home office is in the spare room, I have a desk made of three planks balanced on two trestles!

Name: Kate Willshaw
Role: in FLD Policy Officer
Favourite place or thing to do in the Lake District: Camp with friends in Dunnerdale at Turner Hall Farm, swim in the pools of the Duddon River and drink real ale in the Newfield Inn
First thing I’m going to do when things get back to normal: Go 'wild swimming' in Rydal

Film Club

Many of us will be craving access to the beautiful open landscapes of the Lake District and Cumbria and further afield across the UK but, at the same time, doing the right thing by staying home and staying local. So we are bringing the outdoors to you.

Our Film Club features inspiring, uplifting, moving and informative films that reflect the landscapes, people and culture of the Lake District and Cumbria.

So savour them in your own homes and transport your mind as we await happier times when we can physically reconnect our bodies and souls with the landscapes we love once again. View this week's recommendations here>

We'll be adding new recommendations each work but please do get in touch if you have any favourites to add to our Film Club. Email chris-james@fld.org.uk

Stay safe and well and enjoy!

Our Land
We are continuing to keep an eye on our land through a combination of volunteers and staff who happen to live nearby the sites. Our land at the Helm is quiet so the cows and Fell Ponies that graze it have full rein, though as usual, the ponies are always ready to get in on the act if any attention is on offer!

This down time will enable us to write revised management plans for each site. More information about the land that we own and manage is available on our website>

A Good Read

We’re all finding ourselves spending more time at home at the moment. For now, then, we might need to settle for using our imaginations to connect with the countryside.

To help with this, we're publishing some of our staff's favourite books and some top picks from our Conserving Lakeland Book Reviews that help to bring the  Lake District and the wider landscape to you.

From the story of the Lake District landscape to the origin our our counties place names, we will be rounding up publications to help you visit the countryside from your armchair. We'll be publishing book reviews on our website each week.

If you have a favourite, something to connect us with the landscape and and nature in this time of isolation, write us a short review (200 words) and we'll share it here. Email chris-james@fld.org.uk

Policy Update

Landscape Character Assessment: Despite the corona virus lockdown we are still involved with the LDNPA’s Landscape Character Assessment work. A number of partners will be meeting by video conference next week to discuss some work that’s been carried out to assess and evaluate the best landscape monitoring techniques to use in the Lake District.  This work has been carried out by the consultants Countryscape on behalf of the Lake District National Park Partnership, partly funded by Friends of the Lake District and Natural England.
Read more>

National Park Partnership Plan
Some work is continuing on the National Park Partnership Management Plan for 2020-25 and staff are still involved in this process. This may well be the most important plan ever prepared by the Partnership given the changes in agricultural support that are due, the ‘Glover’ Landscapes Review Review into National Parks and crucially how the area recovers from the coronavirus outbreak. The plan was due to be drafted and consulted upon this summer, while some of the drafting work is likely to continue, partners in the plan will have to work out how and when to carry out the required public consultation. When the draft plan is ready for consultation we will let you know so that you can get involved.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

To celebrate 250 years of William Wordsworth I asked my daughter Chloe to read my favourite poem outside in the garden in front of the dancing daffodils. Not native ones, but pretty none the less! He really brings to life our native woodlands in the Lake District of which I am really fond of at this time of year when wild daffodils grow. She was very compliant but gave a little flourish of her own at the very end of the poem. ‘ Jazz Hands’! Thanks to Nicola for submitting her video and brightening up our day!

If you want to try your hand at making short video celebrating the Lake District, the landscape or the flowers in your garden, we'd love to see it and share it here. Remember to leave your name and where you are in your message. Upload it at this link: 

Planning Matters

Since participating in the public hearings in November/December 2019, we have continued to keep a close eye on the progress of the Examination of the Lake District National Park Authority’s (LDNPA’s) new Local Plan.

When the Inspectors who are conducting the Examination issued details of further work required on the Plan and changes proposed to the document, we were pleased to learn that they had taken several of our suggestions into account. This included re-instating a policy setting out how proposals for major development would be considered in in National Park and making it clearer when a landscape assessment would be required for planning applications.

Further progress has been delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak, but the LDNPA are undertaking the additional work required and a consultation on the Inspector’s recommended changes to the Plan will now take place later in the year. That will be followed by the Inspectors’ report. For details of the latest position, keep an eye on the LDNPA’s Local Plan Examination page .

COVID-19 has had a wider impact on the planning system too. Whilst some aspects can be continued relatively normally by planners working from home, Local Plan and Appeal Hearings have been suspended for example, meeting applicants or concerned residents on-site is no longer possible and there has been a slight downturn in the number of applications submitted.
Read more>

Feature Articles and Poetry

We thought that this would be a good opportunity to catch up with some longer reads and to revisit some of our favourite poetry submitted to us over the past few years. You'll find them here>

We'll be publishing feature articles featured in our Conserving Lakeland magazine and some of the wonderful poetry that submitted to us each week.

If you have a poem or an article that you'd like to share or feel inspired to write something celebrating our landscape or then we'd love to share it here with our members and supporters. Email chris-james@fld.org.uk

All of our campaigning activities have been suspended. While the Coronavirus outbreak continues, we appreciate that everyone has more pressing priorities. 

Many people will be missing their visits to the Lake District and Cumbria. We will continue to use our social media channels to provide interesting information and reflections about the area as well as supporting key messages from the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria Police and the NHS about how Covid 19 is affecting access to the area. 

Lost & Found Exhibition
Our Landscape Lost and Found photographic exhibition was cut short so we thought we could share some of the wonderful before and after images with you here each week.

Photos in the exhibition include historic Lakeland scenes taken from photographer Gwen Bertelsman’s book ‘Lakeland Life in the 1940s and 1950s’ juxtaposed with photographs of the same scenes as they look today, by renowned local photographers Rosamund and John MacFarlane.

We've kicked things off this week with views of Ambleside Pier and Fleetwith Pike. We'll be adding more each week.

Climate Change Research

Our former policy officer Jack Ellerby has been researching how climate change is affecting Cumbria now, and may affect it in future. We'll be sharing a few facts from his work each week:
  1. Cumbria’s flooding events in 2015 and 2019 were the worst for 558 years (from sediment analysis on the bed of Bassenthwaite). Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/22/floods-in-2009-and-2015-were-worst-in-cumbria-for-centuries-study
  2. Spring 2019 was an amazing year for displays of our native bluebells, when cold winds kept temperatures down for a while longer than in recent years. Sadly though, the Woodland Trust’s ‘Nature’s Calendar’ monitoring (the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, in relation to climate and plant and animal life), with over 200,000 records between 1998-2014, including from sites across Cumbria, is showing that trees are budding and leafing earlier with increasing temperatures (3-6 days in the north for every 10C temperature rise).

Let's keep in touch

It is important to us that we remain in contact with you. We can’t meet with you currently but I believe we can all try and make the sense of isolation feel less daunting if we keep in touch. Conserving Lakeland will be with you in early June and we will continue to keep you updated via this weekly newsletter, our website, Facebook and Twitter. Don't hesitate to contact us. It will be nice to hear from you. Also, if there are any features or anything you'd like to see added to this weekly news updte then do please let us know. chris-james@fld.org.uk

Finally, look after yourself and your loved ones and let's look forward to spending time in the Lake District soon - I'm sure we will treasure our National Parks even more when all this is over.

With warmest wishes from all of the team at Friends of the Lake District

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