A three year effort to fix a remote and spectacular moorland bridleway on Dartmoor has been given a boost over the finishing line – after a £8,500 donation from the BMC’s Mend Our Mountains crowdfunding campaign ‘grew’ to £27,000.
It’s often said that a generous act can multiply - a gift can keep on giving.
In this case it is literally true. The donations you gave to a popular bridleway on Dartmoor through the BMC’s Mend Our Mountains campaign effectively more than tripled through other donations and match funding, meaning the three year effort to repair the path has finally been completed.
The story goes to show that when recreational users ‘put something back’ it can go even further than expected.
The route from Princetown to Nun’s Cross, passing the granite outcrops of South Hessary Tor, has been heavily trodden by ancient and modern feet alike. Today it is enjoyed by 40,000 walkers and 10,000 mountain bikers every year.
But a combination of high usage and full exposure to the famously volatile Dartmoor weather meant the route was suffering – the path had become a scar of around five metres wide in places, exposing the precious underlying peat. The winter storms that hit Devon and Dartmoor hard in 2014 also took their toll.
In response, the Dartmoor National Park Authority developed an ambitious plan to repair the whole route between Princetown and Burrator, of which the 1.5km stretch to Nun’s Cross was the most ambitious phase.
Phase 1 of the works - before and after. Photo: Dartmoor National Park Authority
Last year the BMC and its charity chipped in, giving £8,500 for the effort to repair the route to Nun’s Cross as part of Mend Our Mountains campaign, which raised £104,000 overall for upland and mountain paths across England and Wales.
The campaign caught the imagination of the public and acted as a catalyst for other donations to be added “to the pot”. This included a fantastic £5,000 donation from local walking group Totnes Ramblers and voluntary donations received through the National Park Authority’s Donate for Dartmoor scheme.
On top of this, the National Park Authority agreed to match fund the overall total, effectively transforming the initial £8,500 into £27,000. The boost was enough to finish the phase, with works being carried out over the winter of 2016 and the spring of 2017 to finish recently.
Andrew Watson, Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Head of Recreation, Access and Estates said “The support and funding raised from the BMC, Ramblers and public donations has been absolutely fantastic.
“The crowdfunding raised by the BMC really gave this project the kickstart it needed and we have been able to provide a sustainable trail that we hope will last for many years to come”.
The work was overseen by National Park Ranger Peter Rich, using local contractors, and saw over 1.5km of trail repaired and moorland restored. This involved transporting large quantities of stone and growan onto site to build granite cross-drains, build up the path where it had eroded down to the underlying peat, and provide a suitable surface for all users of the trail.
READ MORE: THE IMPACT OF MEND OUR MOUNTAINS
We repeat our huge thanks to everyone who donated to Mend Our Mountains, as well as to the BMC volunteers, the national park teams, individuals, companies, local businesses, accommodation providers, guides and others who helped to make it happen.
These included Cotswold Outdoor, Alpkit, Steep Edge, DMM, Tentmeals, Vertebrate, Tessa Lyons, Terry Abraham, Chris Townsend, James McHaffie, Peak Mountaineering, Peak Walking Adventures, Underleigh House B&B, Wheeldon Trees Farm cottage, Cloud Loft cottage, Snowdonia Walking and Climbing, Higher Climbing, Calum Muskett, The National Trust, Mountain Yak, Plas y Brenin, Yorkshire Dales Guides, Damart, Skyware, the King William Guest House, Adventures With Will, Borderlands Outdoor, Black Mountain Activities, Kevin Walker Mountain Activities, The Tour of Britain, Tri The Beast, Cicerone, Trailblazer, Encounter Walking Holidays, XMAN XXX, Exmoor Stargazers, and all the national park teams who helped to drive the campaign and source crowdfunding rewards.
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
WATCH: the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign film