I’ve just spent the day with Jeremy and the team at Wordsworth House looking at the impact of the floods here in Cockermouth and in the wider Lake District.
The damage in the town is shocking – I really feel for all the families and residents, some of them our staff and volunteers. And the stories of heroism are still coming out – everyone working to help each other. We’re still putting together a roll call of all the damage. Incredibly luckily the water stopped just a few inches short of the main rooms at Wordsworth House. But the cellar and shop were flooded, exterior walls are down and the garden is coated in silt and criss-crossed with wool.
Aftermath of the flood at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth. (See photo.)
We went to Coniston and around Loweswater and met our farm tenants, the Beards, who told us about the time they’d had. We’ve lost paths, bridges and stone walls that will take months to rebuild there and in Buttermere, Borrowdale and Ullswater – and there’s more to be discovered where we’re still waiting for the floods to recede.
What’s impressed me so much is how our staff and volunteers right across the Lakes have joined the big clear-up effort helping us, our tenants and neighbours start getting back to something like “normal”. This is messy, depressing work but everyone’s smiling despite it all. And we’re already planning how we’re going to get repairs done – we’re going to need lots of help. But the countryside is open for business now – I heard one of our staff in the south has just booked a holiday cottage for this weekend! – brilliant. And we’ll be opening Wordsworth House as planned on March 13, the team are so determined.
Many of you have already asked how you can offer donations or volunteer help. You can find all the information you need, as well as regular news updates, at National Trust Lake District Floods
We’ve already had loads of wonderful support with people from all over the country offering to come and clear up or giving money to the Lake District Flood Appeal – we really appreciate this. Despite it all Cumbria remains buoyant and ‘business as usual’ is the message I took home with me. Come and visit not only to show your support, but also to enjoy this special place – it needs you.
Thank you for your support,
Dame Fiona Reynolds