Fell path repair work is prioritised and agreed by the Fix the Fells Programme Board. The Board has representatives from the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Friends of the Lake District, Nurture Lakeland, Natural England and Cumbria County Council.
In 2012 our skilled and experienced rangers from the National Trust and National Park undertook path surveys on 120 paths across the fells. The prioritisation of which paths we work on is based on the current condition of the paths and the future impact they are likely to have on the landscape, ecology and archaeology. More detailed specifications are drawn up each year using nationally agreed best practice principles.
There is more detail about our repair techniques here.
In 2017 we will be concentrating on repairing paths damaged by Storm Desmond in December 2015. We will also focus on repair and maintenance work to try to prevent some less severe areas of path erosion getting worse and to return to some of our previous work that needs attention. There will still be some new project work but this will be a smaller part of our overall work programme.
For more information on our 2017 work programme, please contact Richard Fox (Fix the Fells Ranger) firstname.lastname@example.org
All work is subject to the relevant permissions before being undertaken.
The 200+ sections of path that have been worked on in previous years will continue to be maintained as per a traffic light system. Paths are rated according to the number of times our volunteers and rangers need to return to them in order to clear the drains and sweep the stone pitching of any loose stones. The traffic light systems works as follows:
Green: Twice a year
Amber: Three times a year
Red: Four times a year
In addition, Fix the Fells rangers and volunteers will undertake any minor repair works that are required, particularly on well used paths such as the Coast to Coast path and popular mountain routes.
Brown Tongue, Scafell Pike, Wasdale. This is a familiar project now, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The Brown Tongue path has a very high usage, and in particular it sees a tremendous number of ‘Three peakers’, many of whom use the path by night. The current path is too narrow and too rough, so in time the whole path needs improving and widening. Where the path is particularly bad, folk leave it and cause rapidly spreading erosion along its sides.
The plan for 2016 is to widen and re-pitch another section of the path above that done in 2015.
Breast Route, Great Gable, Wasdale. The path up the Breast Route on Great Gable dates from the 1990s and in places is in a tired state. The plan for the year is to re-instate and landscape side containment and re-pitch some of the worst sections in the middle of the route.
Hollowstones, Scafell Pike, Wasdale Another path that is eroding at some rate, the plan here is to limit the braiding with landscaping works and to improve the drainage with some re-instatement of drains and extension.
Piers Gill, Scafell Pike, Wasdale Piers Gill runs up to the Corridor Route. On ascent, there is no confusion, but on descent, some folk drop into Piers Gill before they reach the path. In the past, some works have been done here to make the path more obvious, but more now needs to be done to stabilise the top of the gill and improve the path at this location. Some revetment and general landscaping will be carried out.
Greendale Lower, Wasdale This path is not heavily used, but in places is in need of further work to drain and stabilise the route. Being a developing path, some sections will continue to need on going attention in the near future.
Corridor Route, Wasdale The plan for this path is some general maintenance work – re-building some drains, side landscaping to improve containment and removing braids.
Brown Tongue Nose, Wasdale Once the right of way, this nose was badly eroded and unsustainable. The path was re-directed onto its current line many years ago, but some folk still use the old route and it is beginning to show signs of wear. As it is so sensitive and vulnerable, some work is now necessary to stabilise current damage and deter others from following.
Sprinkling Tarn to Calf Cove Another heavily used path that needs regular maintenance, the plan for 2016 is to re-build some drains, stabilise or re-do sections of pitching, close braids and improve containment.
Striding / Swirral Edges, Helvellyn Now we have carried out restoration works to these edges, we need to revisit the repairs on an annual basis, as the location and duration of snowfields affects where users go. Side tracks need closing and hiding, and re-instatement work needs checking and replacing.
Dollywaggon This path is mostly 10 to 15 years old, receives heavy use and sits on an unstable hillside. The plan for the year is to improve side containment, re-pitch sections, re-do or lengthen some drains and generally deal with developing problems.
Swirls to Helvellyn A very popular path. The upper section is being shortcut in places and now needs work to re-do some of the pitching, stabilise and landscape the edges, close braids and carry out general maintenance.
Gummers How The middle section of this path is rough as it is close to bedrock. The plan is to improve containment and drainage in this section to narrow the path and prevent casual users from leaving the path.
Goats Hause, Old Man of Coniston Another Coniston fell path that is very heavily used and has sections repaired in the past. The plan here is to extend drains, close braids, landscape the path edges / containment.
Far Easedale, Grasmere This path is part of the Coast to Coast and generally receives much use. The upper section is gullying and in poor shape. The plan here is to carry out some pitching, install drains and carry out associated landscaping.
Threshthwaite Cove, Hartsop The upper middle section of the pitching has fallen out and people are using the edges. The drainage here has also failed, causing material to spill down the path. The path will be re-pitched where necessary, drainage re-instated and associated landscaping carried out.
Dalehead Tarn, Completion of work from previous year. This site is steep and awkward. The original two year plan will be completed this year, with further containment works and some re-laying of pitching and drainage.
Carl Side The plan for 2016 is to extend the new zig-zag path that was started in 2015. This is a bench path using the material that is immediately to hand and is dug by hand on this steep slope. A similar distance of path to last year will be created.
Styhead from Stockley Bridge, Borrowdale This bridleway has some very early path restoration works that have generally been very successful. However there is one section where the drainage needs extending and reinstating, and another place where a rockfall has damaged the route. The plan is to address several problems with new drainage, extended pitching and landscaping works.
Rigg Head, Borrowdale The old quarry road is in poor shape in places. The plan here is to work in particular on stabilising and restoring two particular sections. One involves some in situ stonework that is falling apart and the other is where the path has gullied and eroded from water damage.
Seldom Seen, Glencoyne A landslip has damaged this path in its upper reaches towards Nick Head. The work here is to stabilise the slip above and below the path and to reinstate the path with some pitching. Additionally there is some gullying on the path that requires drainage and repair work using similar techniques.