Last weekend marked 15 years since the first Fix the Fells volunteers began to help look after paths on the high fells and what better way to celebrate than with the project’s prestigious win at the Park Protector Awards in London and an upbeat, celebratory work party on Sail near Keswick.
The Fix the Fells project has been running for 20 years with a core team of specialist rangers, and then 15 years ago recruited the first hardy volunteer to help look after the Lake District’s high fells.
Now 22 highly skilled Rangers are employed to work on 210 upland paths, ably assisted by 130 dedicated Volunteers, who maintain and monitor erosion on a total of 735 fell paths
The Fix the Fells project has been repairing, maintaining and monitoring 666km of upland paths in the Lake District for over 20 years. The invaluable work monitors and repairs erosion, through a range of techniques including stone pitching, soft landscaping and subtle management of people. The objective is to protect and restore the World Heritage Site with its internationally designated landscape, habitats, species, history and culture.
Fix the Fells Volunteer Lengthsmen, Barry Capp, says: “Volunteering as part of the Fix the Fells Lengthsmen team provides great personal enjoyment, satisfaction and camaraderie as well as making a really useful contribution to the repair and maintenance of our spectacular Lake District upland paths and landscape. It is also a brilliant way of keeping fit and active in a unique, all-weather environment”.
The recent Campaign for National Parks Park Protector Award is a fitting tribute to the achievements of all those involved in this fantastic project. These awards recognise the efforts of staff and volunteers working in National Parks in England and Wales over the past year or so.
Annie Duckworth, Fix the Fells Ranger for the Lake District National Park Authority said:
“In addition to the 25 paths that the Fix the Fells Rangers are working on this year, we held a special mass participation work party on Sail near Keswick this weekend to mark 15 years of our wonderful volunteers. We’re very grateful for their hard work and dedication in often challenging locations and conditions. The work party on Sail focussed on landscaping eroded areas to encourage users back onto the path and prevent the erosion from worsening.
“No two days are the same, its hard physical work and the weather conditions are not always kind so I am very grateful to each and every one of our committed volunteers for giving up their time to help.
“My message to anyone visiting the Lake District this summer is to venture out and enjoy the fells as much as possible but please tread lightly and consider your own individual impact on the fragile ecology of the uplands. By sticking to the path rather than shortcutting alongside routes you can play a small part in protecting the area for the future.”
Fix the Fells is a partnership programme between the National Trust, the Lake District National Park, Natural England, Lake District Foundation and Friends of the Lake District that has looked after and repaired upland paths in the area for 20 years to help protect the landscape and wildlife.
For more information on Fix the Fells and to make a donation to help with its work, visit www.fixthefells.co.uk.
Our photo shows some of our team of 130 Fix the Fells Volunteers at a briefing in Sail near Keswick at the weekend, where they were all applauded for the continuing great work they do for the Lake District.