A Fix the Fells path project to help protect the Scafell Pike plateau has been completed thanks to funding from the BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust (ACT).
Much-needed path maintenance and cairn rationalisation was carried out from the top of Calf Cove, along the flank of Ill Bell towards Broad Crag Col by the West Lakes National Trust upland ranger team.
As England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike is one of the most popular mountains in the Lake District and sees tens of thousands of people reach its summit every year. This level of footfall however takes its toll on the paths. ACT awarded £4,200 to fund the work which was carried out by one of the most experienced and skilful upland path teams in the country. ACT’s support ensured the work was done sympathetically and with minimal impact.
The ranger team, accompanied by a group of hard-working volunteers, worked in somewhat misty conditions and camped out for three nights above the Corridor Route to get the job done. The aim was to reduce the impact of widespread trampling to vegetation by narrowing and defining a route along the plateau in the boulder field using local rock. The team removed a number of misleading cairns and landscaped the path edge. This will help keep people on the right path to the summit, thereby protecting the surrounding fragile landscape.
Tanya Oliver, Fix the Fells programme manager said, "We were delighted to receive this money from the BMC's Access & Conservation Trust and to work with them on this project. Undertaking this type of remedial work reduces erosion to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy climbing England's highest mountain. Our thanks goes to the BMC for its support".
This is one of several footpath projects to receive support from ACT. Over the last three years (2010-12) ACT awarded a total of £33,707 to a broad range of projects to help protect the hills and mountains; one third of this went towards footpath work.
Other path projects supported by ACT include:
1 – The Three Peaks Project
Back in 2010, ACT teamed up with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) to support the Three Peaks Project to help maintain the important and popular footpath on the steep slopes of Ingleborough. ACT awarded £1,020 towards the £6,000 project. Repairs took place to the steep stone steps at High Lot on the path up to the summit from Chapel le Dale. The area is visited by about 250,000 people each year and heavy use combined with the steepness had resulted in steps slumping over and the path becoming difficult to use. The repair work made a big improvement and brought the section of back to top condition. The path is within the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England, so it’s important to provide a good walking surface and protect the surrounding habitats.
2 – Chee Dale boardwalk
The boardwalk constructed at Chee Dale Nature Reserve near Buxton in the Wye Valley is proving really useful for walkers and climbers alike. During 2011-12, ACT awarded £860 to help fund materials for the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust project to improve access and protect vegetation. The well-used footpath through the gorge at Chee Dale had become very wide, muddy and devoid of riverside vegetation. The 60 metres worth of boardwalk within Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has improved access and had a dramatic result in the re-colonisation of the vegetation.
3 – Black Mountain path erosion restoration
In 2011, ACT put £3,000 towards a big project by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA) to control erosion on the path at Bwlch Blaen Twrch on the Black Mountain. This is a popular path which forms part of the Beacons Way, and follows the northern escarpment providing fantastic views in all directions. In total, 70 metres of stone pitching and 270 metres of aggregate path were completed, using a local contractor and materials sourced from a local quarry. Feedback from walkers using the path has all been positive and photos below show the works were completed in a way that is functional but also blends with the landscape.
Find out more about the work of the BBNPA
4 – Restoring Roaches routeways
Some of the main paths at the Roaches in Staffordshire are next in line to benefit from ACT funding. ACT has awarded £5,000 for the proposed restoration work by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust who took on a 125 year of the Roaches Estate earlier this year. Badly needed footpath repair work is set to be carried out around the popular climbing areas in due course. Watch this space for further news.
Donate to ACT
The BMC Access & Conservation Trust (ACT)
is a charitable trust established by the British Mountaineering Council in 2001. It aims to promote sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside through education and conservation projects.
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and made this important work possible. If you feel inspired to give to ACT to support projects like these please donate now. You can donate via Paypal
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