Fell Care Days 2020

Friends of the Lake District aims to: care for the scenic beauty, rich wildlife and historic heritage of our county’s landscapes; ensure Cumbria’s landscapes are passed on to future generations in as good or better condition than they are now; and, encourage people to appreciate our special county – everyone has a right to enjoy Cumbria’s magnificent landscapes.

Fell Care Days are mass-participation volunteering events which empower communities to actively take part in the conservation of their landscapes through litter picks, tree planting, rhododendron bashing and much more. They also teach rural heritage skills, such as dry stone walling and hedge-laying to new generations and help keep them alive. Tourism rapidly outstrips agriculture as the region’s main employer and, as our sparse population ages, these vital skills are at risk of being lost. They are also a powerful engagement tool to encourage children, and adults, to become inspired by the nature around us and all of its special qualities. This project will hold three events in 2020: “The Great Cumbrian Litter Pick”, and two Fell Care Days which will consist of multiple activities chosen so as to do as much benefit as possible in the areas most in need at that time.

The Update

Despite the challenges of carrying out mass participation events during a pandemic, this project has successfully completed, albeit with slightly adjusted outcomes…

The original plan of one Litter Pick event and two Fell Care events was altered to two Litter Pick events due to restrictions and lockdowns making Fell Care events impossible to hold. Nevertheless, the two Litter Pick events were an enormous success!

The 2020 Great Cumbrian Litter Pick took place on the 15th and 16th August with over 40 separate litter picks held across the Lake District and Cumbria, involving communities, individuals, businesses, and organisations. Ages ranged from 9 to 70+. Between them they covered 254km and collected almost 250 bags of rubbish.

The 2021 Great Cumbrian Litter Pick was carried out on 21st and 22nd May, with 75 groups participating, including primary schools, businesses, organisations, and the general public. Between them they covered an amazing distance of 311km and gathered over 500 bags of rubbish. Some of the strangest items found included a 1980’s cash register, a rubber duck, a caravan toilet, coconut shells, carpet, a giant inflatable rubber tyre tube, as well as the ubiquitous cans, bottles, and dog poo bags.

FLD have since commissioned a research study into the issue of littering in the Lake District to try to combat it at its source too. This report will help understand the root of the issue and the best way to tackle it going forward.

Huge thanks to Smartwool for enabling this project!

The amazing work of Friends of the Lake District, and their Fell Care Days, is being continued in 2022 through the North Face Explore Fund, so watch this space for further updates!

Image: Hard at work