A £7.9 MILLION funding package has been agreed for work to reconnect a path between Keswick to Threlkeld - three years after it was damaged by Storm Desmond.

The announcement, which was made by Lake District National Park Authority on Tuesday, exactly three years to the day of the fateful storm, has been hailed as an important milestone in the complex project.

So far, funding has been approved from Highways England and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Additionally, £130,000 of community fundraising by the Lake District Foundation contributed towards the £7.9 million needed to enable the project to go ahead.

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park said: “This particular trail offers a great family-friendly, traffic-free route from town to village, it will be fully accessible to many people, such as cyclists, walkers and runners.

“It has taken some time but we have always been fully committed to making sure it is reconnected for the benefit of all.

“Local fundraising has played a huge part in ensuring this project can go ahead, demonstrating the strength of public feeling about this important trail.

“We’re thrilled we now have the money to allow work to go ahead to complete the full reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld trail and make the route more resilient along the way.”

Construction contracts are currently out to tender and trail construction partners will be announced in the near future.

Work is expected to start in the new year to have the route fully reopened within two years.

Bruce Parker, Highways England’s North West head of planning and development said: “We’re delighted to provide almost half the £7.9 million needed to restore and enhance the link between Keswick and Threlkeld.

“Highways England has set aside £250 million for projects like this focusing on supporting pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian users of the road network.”

During Storm Desmond, two bridges that cross the River Greta and about 200 metres of path were washed away, with Rawsome Bridge closed for public safety.