A new charity set up to look after the Lake District has raised almost £400,000 in its first year.

The Lake District Foundation helps care for the national park by encouraging donations from visitors and local businesses for key projects.

More than 200 businesses support the charity which has raised money for 16 projects in the last 12 months including The Lake District Osprey Project and the Fix the Fells scheme.

The charity – which took over from Nurture Lakeland – also injected £100,000 into a project to reconnect the storm-damaged Keswick to Threlkeld railway path.

The milestone was marked at a celebratory birthday event at the foundation's headquarters at Murley Moss in Kendal.

Sarah Swindley, Lake District Foundation director, said growing a new charity was an amazing challenge.

"We have big plans and are working hard to achieve our ambitious goals," she said

"It’s been a busy year so far, running two organisations in parallel as we said goodbye to Nurture Lakeland and transitioned all our work into the new structure.

“We are a tiny team with the equivalent of four full-time staff.

"Our influential trustees are the heart of our organisation and I would like to thank the board, my staff and our volunteers for all this hard work."

Looking ahead to the next 12 months she said the first grants would shortly be awarded to help projects come to life.

"We are working with Natural England on an exciting piece of work on the Cumbrian West Coast, linked to the new national coastal path," she said.

"We are also developing our partnership with Cumbria Tourism and others to look at how we use every opportunity to promote sustainable tourism habits and approaches.”

Jim Walker, Cumbria Tourism's vice chairman, said tourism was the county's biggest industry, bringing in £2.9bn to the county’s economy every year.

“Our visitors make Cumbria the successful holiday destination it is, and their support for the county is always second to none.

"It is really good to see the new Lake District Foundation playing a major role here. We are hugely grateful for their ongoing efforts to encourage our visitors to make a donation."

He added: “A big thanks must also go to local businesses who appreciate how important it is that the county is cared for through the wide range of projects which the Lake District Foundation supports.”

Heart of the Lakes self-catering agency is one of the businesses involved in fund-raising for the charity.

Sue Jackson, a partner in the firm, said: “We look forward to continuing to work alongside the new Lake District Foundation and are extremely excited to hear about the new initiatives that both the business community and our loyal visitors can get involved with.

"By working together, we can ensure this very special landscape that we work, live in and enjoy all year round is looked after for future generations and visitors alike.”

Endurance adventurer Sean Conway, who became the first person to cycle, swim, and run the length of Great Britain, has been enlisted as the LDF's Adventure Ambassador.

In 2016 he completed the world’s longest triathlon, a 4,200-mile journey around the coast of Britain. This year he also became the fastest person to cycle unsupported across Europe from Portugal to Russia.