Visitors to English Lakes have donated an incredible £187,500 to date through our Visitor Giving scheme. If you ever wondered about how that money is used and if it’s making a difference, our Green Team went to find out. They spent a day with Rob Clarke, National Trust Basecamp Community Ranger and a wonderful team of Fix the Fells volunteers committed to keeping the Lake District hills maintained and accessible for millions of walkers each year.
These Boots were Made for Walking
The Lake District welcomes around 18 million visitors each year, many to enjoy the freedom of walking across our beautiful landscape. Walking boots and the impact of the weather can quickly erode mountain paths and, in the absence of crucial remedial work, huge scars can easily formed across the fells.
Erosion is the progressive loss of grass or vegetation and soil. When soil is exposed it can be washed away turning the paths into water channels that become deeper over time. People then tend to walk on the side, adding to the problem. Eroded paths are not only unsightly, but can lead to habitat loss, water pollution and damage to the archaeological and natural history of the area.
Ten Years of ‘Fix the Fells’
Fix the Fells is a partnership programme which brings together volunteers and a wide range of organisations in the area. The aim is to protect the spectacular Lakeland fells from erosion and damage by both repairing and maintaining the upland paths of the Lake District. The repairs also protect the delicate vegetation at the sides of the paths, often protected species.
Started in June 2007, they have just celebrated their ten year anniversary. South Lakeland MP Tim Farron joined volunteers on 23rd June and got stuck in to repairing a footpath above Grasmere. He has lodged a formal motion in parliament to thank all volunteers who have contributed to the programme.
Our Day on the Fells
Cherrie from Lancaster House tells us a little bit about our team’s activities on the day….
We joined Rob and the team and walked to the Wrynose Pass site just above Red Tarn. It was a steady climb carrying all the equipment we would need, including some fairly heavy picks and shovels. Our task for the day was to repair some path erosion by disguising a scar on the hill using what is called the ‘hump and hollow’ method – digging hollows and creating mounds with peat to discourage walkers from using that route. We then helped repair the main path to ensure a good surface and proper drainage.
It was a very rewarding day and, although there wasn’t enough time to complete the section, we could clearly see how our efforts had helped preserve that part of the path.
I am full of admiration for Rangers and the fifty Fix the Fells volunteers that give their time and effort to preserve the beautiful Lake District landscape.
The Fix the Fells team would be delighted to welcome additional volunteers. If you are interested in this worthwhile project, email firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance and go on one of their ‘taster days’. It is hard work but great fun.
Well done to the English Lakes team who lent some muscle on the day. A huge thank you to our guests who continue to support the English Lakes Visitor Giving scheme.