Lake District Path Repair

Fix the Fells is a partnership encouraging greater understanding and support for upland access, as well as repairing seriously eroded landscapes in the Lake District National Park. In 1999, 180 paths were identified as in need of urgent repair. With over 8 million visitors each year, and despite repairing over 150 paths, there are a further 60 now in need of repair.

This project will work on two of the Lake District’s most loved and challenging paths: the ‘Breakfast Stone’ on Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, and the exit from Striding Edge, onto the summit of Helvellyn, where urgent repairs are needed to ensure public safety and protect the delicate mountain ecology. Erosion has completely destroyed the rare alpine ‘mouse-ear’ plant, and in Red Tarn, below the ridge, the white Schelly fish, dating back to the Ice Age, are facing a bleak future as loose soil spills down and clogs up their spawning ground.

This project will:

  • Carry out stabilisation and repair work on the ‘Breakfast Stone’
  • Landscape and re-vegetate paths with small hardy grasses, heather and juniper to blend into the landscape
  • Safeguard sensitive areas along the exit from Striding Edge, protect rare vegetation on the Helvellyn plateau, and preventing stones and debris from falling into the tarn below
  • Manage and maintain the trails to ensure the work continues to be successful.

Every grant obtained by Fix the Fells is matched by Heritage Lottery Funding on a 2:1 basis, meaning the grant will multiply to €90,000. This will be used for further footpath repair and educational purposes locally.

The Update

Helvellyn – Striding Edge.
The Striding Edge work was completed in March 2012. Work was carried out to the final climb onto Helvellyn from Striding Edge to try to subtly direct people away from the sensitive face above Red Tarn. By containing people, erosion can be reduced and rare arctic alpine plants can be protected from trampling or smothering. The containment has been achieved by carefully moving stone to create what appear to be natural barriers, so that people follow a different route without realising they have been directed.

Scafell Pike
The Scafell Pike work is also complete. One of the main problems on this site was the water flow that used to follow the same line as the old and seriously eroded path. The path was re-routed to the south of the old gully, using a traditional technique known as stone pitching. Much effort was put into directing the water away to the north of the path by creating new open drains (turf ditches and stone lined) but also by using the natural contours of the land as far as possible. The finished restoration work has been carried out to a very high standard and already looks well established in its environment.

Volunteering Activity
Volunteering for the period 1st Sept 2011 to 1st April 2012 involved 82 volunteers undertaking 469 days of volunteering for the project. Added to the 810 from the previous period detailed in the interim report, this makes a total of 1279 days of volunteering, well exceeding the aim of 1000 days for the project.