Floods minister Rory Stewart has launched a new £3.5m fund to help repair and improve Cumbria’s public rights of way damaged by Storm Desmond in December.
As well as bringing benefits to residents, the Cumbria Countryside Access Fund is also intended to help to attract tourists back to Cumbria.
Individual grants from a minimum of £100,000 are available for landowners or public bodies and will cover reinstating and improving rights of way for rural towns and villages, visitor attractions, long-distance trails and those passing through environmentally sensitive areas such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The maximum grant that can be offered is £1 million in each of the north, east and south Lake District areas and £500,000 in rural areas of Cumbria outside of the Lake District National Park.
Stewart said: “This money will help re-open many walks and areas that suffered in the dreadful December floods, providing a great boost for local communities and getting the message out loud and clear that Cumbria is very much open for business. The county’s landscapes are some of the most precious and beautiful in the country and I would recommend to anyone that they come and see what they have to offer.”
Chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency Mark Grimshaw said: “Creating this new Cumbria Countryside Access Fund will help restore rights of way popular with locals and visitors, as well as protect them from any future instances of flooding.”