Renewing the paths that keep the Lakes special

Lake District rangers fixing paths © National Trust

Lake District rangers fixing paths

Latest update 09.06.2014 12:33

Millions of pairs of feet every year look forward to a great walk across the Lakes, but how many people think about how the path beneath their boots is cared for while they’re enjoying this amazing place?

Our Fix the Fells teams of Rangers and volunteers are out in the landscape in all weathers ensuring that the paths we love are fit for the job – keeping walkers on course and protecting this wild landscape from erosion.

The Lake District welcomes over 15 million visitors every year – that’s a lot of feet – and, in the wrong place, those feet can damage precious habitats that wildlife rely on. Our Rangers and volunteers tackle a myriad of tasks up on the fells, from digging out worn paths and relaying them with new stone, to checking drainage around paths, so that water can run off a path, instead of creating a new, deeper and more damaging gully. On average, a day’s work will see around 1.5 metres of path repaired.

2014 work on Helvellyn

An exciting project for 2014 will be the arete on Helvellyn, better known as Striding Edge. The work carried out here will protect a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) of a montane habitat than supports arctic alpine plant species.

Tanya Oliver, Fix the Fells Programme Manger says: 'To prevent further damage to the montane habitat, ‘granny’ paths – secondary paths under the main arete – will be landscaped. This is combination of digging, positioning rocks, turfing and re-seeding to make the landscape look as natural as possible, as if the path had not been there. By encouraging walkers to stick to the original route along the arête, it’ll stop more of the landscape being eroded.'

None of the work achieved to care for the fells would be possible without the generous support of our volunteers, or the donations we receive from members and donors. The Lakes landscape would suffer irreparable damage without everyone’s help.

So, while you’re out and about this year, look out for our Fix the Fells teams across the Lakes – from Catbells, to Gowbarrow, Helm Crag and between Red Tarn and Crinkle Crags. They’re easily spotted in their bright red jackets – or find out more here (external link).