Repairing the Pennine Way

The many stages of repairing the Pennine Way

In 2019, our Estate Team helped to repair 400 metres of the much loved Pennine Way that crosses through the Peak District National Park. Discover more about how our team gave this popular pathway some much needed care...

The Pennine Way

The Pennine Way was created by Tom Stephenson and opened in 1965; providing access to the glorious countryside for the public's enjoyment and health and wellbeing. This long distance footpath stretches 268 miles across the UK, starting in Edale and spans right across to the finish point at Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.

In the late nineties it was estimated that 12,000 people were annually walking the Pennine way, with over 250,000 visitors per day to various sections of the path.

With the popularity of the route growing, this has led to long term erosion issues on many parts of the trail. Many large sections of the trail that cross through the Peak District, lie on National Trust land, so our dedicated team of rangers stepped in to help breathe new life into the old pathway to ensure that this route and its stunning views can be enjoyed by people for many years to come.

The before and after - what an incredible difference!
The before and after - what an incredible difference!
The before and after - what an incredible difference!

In 2019, our Peak District Estate Team were asked by the Peak Park Footpath Officers to repair 400 metres of heavily scarred and eroding path across the land of one of our Farm Tenant’s fields at Upper Booth in Edale. The path had started to look incredibly worn out and frequently resembled a shallow mud river in wet weather. The project was funded by a Pennine Trails Partnership Grant.

Repairs begin

In order for the work to begin, the Estate Team needed to use a 360-degree excavator to dig out a shallow tray along the length of the footpath.

A 360-degree excavator digs out the foundations for the path
A 360-degree excavator digs out the foundations for the path
A 360-degree excavator digs out the foundations for the path

As with all major jobs across the Peak District, accessibility was a tricky issue, therefore the aggregate for the path was dropped about two miles from the work site by twenty-ton wagons, the aggregate was then transported by tractor and trailer. 80 tons of 40mm base gritstone was placed in the dugout trench which was 4 inches deep and approximately 1 metre wide. The next stages then involved transporting 40 tons of 20mm buff gritstone to place on top to create the surface of the path. All 120 tons of aggregate had to be raked level by hand.

The many stages of repairing the Pennine Way
The many stages of repairing the Pennine Way
The many stages of repairing the Pennine Way

The Estate Team then hired in a one-ton roller with a driver to compact the aggregate path into a long lasting durable surface.

The one-ton roller with driver was used to compact the aggregate path into a long lasting durable surface.
The one-ton roller with driver was used to compact the aggregate path into a long lasting durable surface.
The one-ton roller with driver was used to compact the aggregate path into a long lasting durable surface.

At about intervals of between 30-50 metres, depending on the angle of the slope, the team built seven water grips made out of natural gritstone. Grips are designed to drain standing water off a path surface onto areas where the water can soak away into the ground. The grips were built at a steep angle between 30 and 40 degrees to enable the drains to self-clean themselves by running water. The clever design of these grips not only diverts water off the path but also prevents water building up on the path, which was a reoccurring issue of the former path design.

Grips were built on to the path to help with drainage
Grips were built on to the path to help with drainage
Grips were built on to the path to help with drainage

A job well done

The final touches involved tidying up the site – all the excess ground was landscaped, and the edges were completed with a mixture of turf and grass seeds. With thanks to Ranger Steve and the Estate Team for their hard work on this piece of work and for providing insightful knowledge about a wonderful project that we are certain thousands of walkers will be very grateful for.