In 1819 a Lakeland traveller arriving at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale from Borrowdale via the Stake Pass complained that the path was seriously damaged, worn and in a worse condition than when he had travelled it 10 years before. Erosion is not new to the uplands.
Since the early 1990s it was clear that path erosion was becoming a serious issue. However there was no legal requirement on any organisation to carry out the repairs (and that is still the case) nor were there any formally agreed methods of repair. The Access Management Group, which consisted of the Lake District National Park, National Trust and English Nature, now Natural England, met. They established the principles and methods of repair work and exchange of ideas between organisations and landowners. Whilst methods have evolved and new ones have been devised, the core principles and best practice guidelines established, remain in place today and were adopted by the House of Commons Environment Select Committee. There have been two significant stages since then to repair paths:
Under the “Upland Paths Landscape Restoration Project”, 102 paths were repaired using money from partner organisations that was generously match-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
“Fix the Fells” was born and 103 paths were repaired using money from partner organisations and continued match funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project also developed a strong volunteering programme and began to focus on awareness with residents, businesses and visitors.
You can see the evaluation of this phase here - PDF file (11.8MB)
Since 2011 and the end of Heritage Lottery funding, Fix the Fells has been in a transition phase and focusing on maintaining the existing path network rather than new project work whilst a new survey of 120 paths was undertaken. This document outlines the plans for the next 10 years of Fix the Fells as a result of those surveys.
We will take all this knowledge into the next phase of Fix the Fells and add to these achievements.