European funding to tackle recreation damage in the Lake District fells

The European Regional Development Fund is supporting the work of Fix the Fells in the Lake District and helping to tackle significant erosion damage in the much-loved Lakeland fells.

Erosion on the route up Scafell Pike from Wasdale

Funding is being provided for work on some of the most eroded paths across the Lake District National Park, including routes on popular, iconic mountains such as Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Blencathra. Recreational hot spots such as Coniston, Buttermere and Borrowdale will also receive support.

A three-year programme of work has been funded, with a possible extension to June 2023.

Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells Programme Manager, said:

“Fix the Fells works to protect the wonderful Lakeland landscape and wildlife, which is enjoyed and valued by so many people for their physical, spiritual and mental well being.
Mountains such as Scafell Pike are being loved to death and are falling to pieces faster than we can repair them.
This intense and growing recreational use is not sustainable without intervention and this ERDF funding will enable us to tackle some of the worst impacts.
In an ideal world, this work would not be necessary, but with increasing recreational activity in the fells, we need to create a more resilient path network and landscape, for visitors and locals to enjoy now and in the future.”

Fix the Fells is a partnership between the National Trust, the Lake District National Park, Natural England, Friends of the Lake District and the Lake District Foundation.
The aim of the Fix the Fells partnership is to protect the spectacular Lake District landscape from erosion damage by repairing and maintaining upland paths.

This European funding only covers part of Fix the Fells’ activity. Much work still needs to be done and Fix the Fells needs over half a million pounds every year to carry out essential upland path work. The Lake District Foundation works with businesses on behalf of the partnership to secure contributions towards this. The local tourist economy depends on the beauty of the Lake District landscape and without appropriate care this resource will deteriorate.

Examples of path erosion and how it has recovered thanks to work by Fix the Fells

Wansfell, Ambleside – 2001 and 2019


Coledale, Keswick – 2005 and 2019


Redacre Ghyll, Langdale – 2000 and 2019



European Regional Development Fund
Fix the Fells is receiving up to £845,515 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

The government is working to agree a deal which works for the whole of the UK and an important part of this process is giving certainty to businesses and citizens. Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate in the programmes financed by the current EU Budget until their closure. This means that all EU funded programmes will be fully funded under the current 2014-2020.  For further information on a “no-deal” scenario, visit

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.  The aim of the Fix the Fells partnership is to protect the spectacular Lakeland fells from erosion and damage by repairing and maintaining the upland paths of the Lake District.  The work is carried out by 20 National Trust Rangers, working on behalf of the partnership, assisted by an army of over 100 volunteers.  Fix the Fells needs £500,000 a year to repair erosion damage and each metre of path costs about £200 to build. It is funded entirely through donations and grants and is an ongoing task as visitor numbers increase and the weather becomes more extreme.  For more information, visit

The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity and we believe in the importance of nature, beauty and history in people’s lives. We care for over 20 per cent of the Lake District National Park, including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike; its deepest lake, Wastwater; its precious wildlife; 90 tenanted farms, and the cultural heritage within a dozen historic buildings. We support 300 jobs in Cumbria and the Lake District, and each year we work with local volunteers, who help us look after one of England’s most inspirational landscapes. The Trust is dependent on the support of its members and the visitors we welcome to our special places each year: every penny we raise in Cumbria is invested in caring for this special place, for ever, for everyone.

For further information on the Lake District National Park please contact the Communications team at the Lake District National Park on 01539 724555.

  • The Lake District is one of 15 National Parks. The others are: Brecon Beacons, the Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, the Yorkshire Dales, the Broads, the New Forest and the South Downs.
  • More information about the Lake District World Heritage bid can be found on
  • More information about the National Park can be found on our website

Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.
Within England, we’re responsible for:

  • promoting nature conservation and protecting biodiversity
  • conserving and enhancing the landscape
  • securing the provision and improvement of facilities for the study, understanding and enjoyment of the natural environment, eg new tower hide at Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve
  • promoting access to the countryside and open spaces and encouraging open-air recreation
  • contributing in other ways to social and economic well-being through management of the natural environment, eg changes to wildlife licensing to improve flexibility for developers.

Friends of the Lake District is an independent charity and the only membership organisation dedicated to protecting and enhancing Cumbria’s landscapes. We believe that the Lake District offers some of the most spectacular and precious landscapes in England. We take action to protect and conserve the natural beauty of these landscapes for the benefit of visitors, local communities, wildlife and habitats.

The Lake District Foundation was established as a charity in August 2017. Prior to this, under the name Nurture Lakeland, the organisation had been working for 23 years to increase fundraising from visitors and the tourism industry. We also delivered sustainable tourism programmes and messages across Cumbria, gaining national recognition. The Lake District Foundation will build on this work and grow in reach, impact and influence. Our aim is to inspire businesses, visitors and other donors to support projects and programmes of work across the Lake District.