In 2023, we organised a new minibus service in the Ullswater valley with Stagecoach which ran on weekends and bank holidays from July 1 to 29 Oct. The idea was to connect the main centres of accommodation with the main attractions in order to enable residents and visitors to reduce reliance on the private car, thereby reducing both congestion and our carbon footprint. Stagecoach provided the bus, but we needed to guarantee the income. We arranged the funding with the Barton and Pooley Bridge Community Fund who also kindly pledged to support the service financially. In the end the service was paid for partly by fares and partly by grant assistance from Eden (now Westmorland and Furness) and from the National Lottery through ZCC. The service was a success, carrying over 1150 passengers.
In 2024 we are expanding the service to run from 23 March to 3 November, also at weekends and bank holidays. We are increasing the reach, number of buses and number of stops. As part of the expansion Stagecoach is providing a new service, 509, from Penrith via Lowther, Askham, Pooley Bridge, Aira Force, Dockray and the A5091, A66 to Keswick, and return. The minibus service, UB1, will run from Aira Force via the holiday parks in Bennethead to Pooley Bridge then to Howtown via the holiday parks on the south side of the lake, and return. These services, combined with the existing 508 service, will open up many more visitor and resident journeys that can be taken by bus rather than car. Stagecoach is helping us to support the new 509 service, which itself indicates the success of last year’s service as well as the success of our partnership working with Stagecoach.
We are grateful to Westmorland and Furness and to ZCC for carrying forward the unused portion of last year’s grant assistance. Grateful thanks also to all the Ullswater businesses and other local entities who have kindly offered pledges to cover the cost of the services in the event fare income is insufficient: The Quiet Site, Lowther Castle, The National Trust (Aira Force), Lake District Estates (the Ullswater Steamers and Waterfoot Holiday Park), Another Place and The Brackenrigg Inn, Park Foot Holiday Park, Hillcroft, Waterside, Rookin House, the Ullswater Inn, The Royal Hotel (Dockray), Pooley Bridge Community Fund and Matterdale Parish Council. Please support our supporters as well as the buses!
More information coming soon!