A RAILWAY development company is working with volunteers to create a green corridor all the way from Leeds to Carlisle.

The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company and the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line (FoSCL) have entered all the stations along the 72-mile line linking Cumbria and Yorkshire.

The aim is to improve the environment for people and wildlife, with entries into both the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Cumbria and Yorkshire in Bloom awards the latest projects to improve biodiversity.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company is an accredited Community Rail Partnership and a member of the Community Rail Network – working in partnership with businesses and community groups and organisations along the Settle to Carlisle railway.

Every station has been entered for the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood category, and FoSCL and its 'Station Adopter Groups' are inviting organisations to join it to make the line a 'blooming' success.

Larry Jones, FoSCL Station Adopters team leader, said: “We know our line is one of the most scenic train journeys in the world and we want to ensure our stations look their very best - and also help improve the environment for people and wildlife.

“We would welcome any support from local organisations and businesses to help us plant up the areas around our stations and create wildlife havens.”

Girl-guiding groups have created a bug hotel at Settle Station and Penrith and Area Red Squirrel Group have installed a red squirrel feeder and nest box at Appleby Station. Appleby Rotary Group has also helped tidy up their local station.

Pete Myers, Chair of Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company said: “We are delighted to be able to support FoSCL with their entry into the It’s Your Neighbourhood category for both Cumbria and Yorkshire in Bloom.

“Everyone knows taking public transport is a great way of reducing your carbon footprint, is better for the environment and makes travel more sustainable. Now we are taking that one step further and enhancing our stations along the line to improve the area for people and wildlife.

“We have recently been reaccredited at a Community Rail Partnership, certified by the Department of Transport. This is awarded in recognition of the community centred projects and services we provide across Yorkshire and Cumbria. Developing the green corridor is one of our main projects for 2024, working with FoSCL and the Settle Carlisle Railway Trust.

“We would welcome any local community group, organisation or business who would like to help us and FoSCL with our project Settle Carlisle in Bloom entries.”

Funding to buy new plants and planters has been provided by train operator CrossCountry.

Alex Bray, its Stakeholder Liaison Manager for the North East & Scotland said: “It’s fantastic to be able to support this wonderful project which benefits both the environment and rail users.

"As a national rail operator, it’s important for us to get involved with such special projects across the length and breadth of our network – so it’s great to be able to support the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company and the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle line in this ‘blooming wonderful’ endeavour.”

Any gardener or group wishing to get involved planting up the Settle Carlisle in Bloom project, or wanting more information should contact Larry Jones at volunteers@settle-carlisle.com