Village councils have dug deep to find the money to keep the wheels on the bus running from Penrith to Pooley Bridge while the new village bridge is built.

Stagecoach has been forced to halt its 508 service from Patterdale to Penrith until the construction ends next spring.

But now Barton & Pooley Bridge, Sockbridge & Tirril and Yanwath & Eamont Bridge parish councils have raised enough money for the bus company to offer a limited but regular service on the newly-named 108 route which replaces the part of the 508 affected by the bridge closure.

Stagecoach planned to reroute the service from Patterdale via the A592, with a stop at the temporary car park at Waterfoot. But at almost a mile away from the village centre, this would have caused difficulties for elderly residents, local employees and tourists making the effort to travel by public transport.

Stagecoach offered the services of both a bus and driver, but required around £3,700 to pay for fuel and maintenance costs during the bridge construction.

Cumbria County Council declined to support this because its policy is not to subsidise bus services.

Miles MacInnes, chairman of Barton and Pooley Bridge Parish Council, said: “We’ve dug deep to raise the funding for this service and it’s vital that those who need it use it as much as possible.

“We are really disappointed the county council couldn’t underwrite this modest cost, but it’s gratifying to see the three parish councils whose residents and businesses are most affected, along with a number of other individuals and organisations, have come together in the spirit of community.”

A spokesman for Cumbria county council said:  "Cumbria County Council has, and continues to remain committed to reducing the disruption caused by the necessary work to replace the temporary road bridge. A number of steps have already been taken including the opening of the new temporary footbridge in September at a cost of over £350k to the project.

"The county council also provided a temporary shuttle bus service for users of the temporary car park during the period where no highway link was available to ensure access to and from Pooley Bridge village centre.

"The council has not subsidised commercial bus services since 2014 due to receiving no funding to do so, but we do continue to invest in community schemes such as Rural Wheels and Voluntary Wheels, which aim to help people get out and about in their local communities. Details of how to access or volunteer for these services are available via the county council website.”