Repairing and maintaining our ancient network of mountain paths is an all-weather task. Many of the paths have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years – on some of them, you can literally be walking in the footsteps of Neolithic stone axe makers, Roman Legionaries, Medieval pack horsemen, Victorian miners or farmers from any era.
Despite their age, these paths need help. The combination of millions of feet and the Lake District's weather means that erosion is a constant problem. This is nothing new, we have records from the early 1800's of users complaining about the state of the paths. In the past, the paths were looked after by their users - miners, farmers and others. Now a combination of National Trust fell rangers and Lake District National Park Authority volunteers work throughout the year to repair and maintain these paths using traditional techniques such as sheep fleeces and stone-pitching, combining these with modern techniques that include using helicopters to transport stone. Find out more in our Erosion Factsheet
Fix the Fells has repaired over 200 sections of paths in the last ten years. Over the next ten years we aim to repair a further 120 paths, whilst continuing to maintain the existing network. We will use quality and sustainable solutions and a combination of prevention and restoration techniques.
To deliver this we are looking to raise £5 million from grants, visitors and local businesses and communities. Our plans for the next ten years are outlined in the business plan.
We also need your help to reduce erosion, support our work and raise awareness of the problems of path erosion.
How can you help?
Our work also helps protect the local ecology and heritage. The Lake District is full of rare plant species that are vulnerable to damage when people walk on them. By repairing and maintaining the paths, people are less likely to stray onto this vegetation and harm it.
Preventing erosion reduces the volume of soil going into our rivers and streams and improves the water quality. The work done on Striding Edge recently has reduced the amount of soil falling into Red Tarn, which was changing the acidity levels and playing havoc with the plants and wildlife within the tarn.
Peat soils are are important carbon stores and our work to retain peat on the paths is vital for the mission to reduce carbon emissions. Read more about the Lake District National's Park work on carbon emissions here.
To protect and enhance our spectacular Lakeland fells through maintaining and improving the path network.