Paddlers and environmentalists join forces to tackle litter in the River Eden
Paddlers and pickers clean up at volunteer day!
We believe that having green spaces on your doorstep where you can be close to nature and the river is essential for good mental and physical health and well-being.
One such space is Engine Lonning in Carlisle. Once a busy rail yard for the London & North-Eastern Railway, these days it is a wildlife haven tucked away in the city, beside the River Eden.
As part of our development year funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our Access to Eden: Breaking barriers, building bridges partnership project, we are looking at sites such as Engine Lonning – doorstep sites that can be found in built-up areas and exploring with local communities how/what improvements could be made so that they can access and enjoy them more easily.
Working in the area around Engine Lonning is new to us, so we invited residents along to Newtown Methodist Church for a chat to tell us more about this green space; its history and what it means to them – what they love, hate, and the improvements they would like to see.
More than 50 people came along to talk to us and our partners – Cumberland Council and Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust – sharing their stories, concerns, and ideas!
This is what they said …
But the conversations didn’t stop there!
A few weeks later, we invited everyone who lived near Engine Lonning in Carlisle to come along and discover their wild side at this hidden gem beside the River Eden.
There was a chance for all ages to sample FREE taster activities to discover something new about the natural and industrial heritage of this popular spot.
Members of Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust led a heritage walk uncovering the industrial heritage of what was once a busy rail yard for the London & North-Eastern Railway.
There was fun for all the family with a wild play area in the company of Stomping Ground, the chance to try out a brand-new family-friendly walk with Laura from The Hiking Household, and take part in a ‘bio-blitz’ with Carlisle Natural History Society and the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre.
Jenni, our Volunteer Coordinator was also on hand to introduce participants to the joy of balsam bashing – the invasive non-native plant, Himalayan balsam is a persistent pest around here.
As always, minibeasts proved a popular draw, with the chance to see up close the invertebrates and other creatures that make their homes in Engine Lonning and the River Eden.
Residents and users of the green space took the opportunity to talk to us and Cumberland Council to share their memories, thoughts and ideas on how this site could be improved in the future for people and nature.
Thanks to our partners, Cumberland Council and Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust for making this day possible.
Discovery Day photos: Stuart Walker Photography
The key improvements the community suggested include:
Conversations are continuing over the summer.
We’ve commissioned specialists in wild play, Stomping Ground CIC to work with the local pupil referral centre and community centre to find out what young people and families want from their local green space. We’re exploring links with organisations and people who work near the site, which has already included a very enjoyable time joining in with a local wellbeing walk. Tania has also worked with local schools to explore their local rivers and the wildlife that lives there.
Following these conversations, we will finalising the plans for the trail improvements with Cumberland Council.
Watch this (green) space!