The Fix the Fells volunteers were nominated as finalists in the Groundwork Trust Community Awards 2018 category for “Best contribution to environmental sustainability” for their work to protect the Lake District fell paths and landscape.
Fix the Fells Volunteer Lengthsmen are a group of 120 trained volunteers who support full-time National Trust upland path teams to undertake routine path maintenance and repairs to protect the spectacular Lakeland fells from erosion and damage.
Their path maintenance work covers 330 different upland Lake District paths comprising a total length of some 650Km in distance. The volunteers are out several times each week throughout the year and in all weathers helping to maintain a World Heritage Site.
The core work of the volunteers involves ‘drain runs’ – maintenance patrols which ensure paths are kept clear and their water drainage is working effectively. Last year, volunteers spent 2237 days in the fells, looking after the mountain paths – a record number of volunteer days for the Fix the Fells volunteer scheme since it began 10 years ago. A well maintained path is far less likely to deteriorate to the point where it will need larger works, so in the long run these patrols save an enormous amount of work.
The drain run process is organised and managed by the volunteers themselves who have developed and organised their efforts into an exemplar scheme which is now being copied across the country.
The Groundwork Judges said, ““This project shows great collaboration and a model that can be replicated more widely.”
Barry Capp, volunteer from Fix the Fells, said, “We are most pleased and highly honoured to have been selected as finalists in the 2018 Groundwork Community Awards. It is a really great recognition for the year-round hard work and effort that all the volunteer lengthsmen put into maintaining the upland fell paths of the Lake District, and is certainly much appreciated by everybody involved.”
Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells Programme Manager, said, “The volunteer lengthsmen form an important and integral part of the overall Fix the Fells team. Being finalists in this Groundwork Community award recognises the outstanding motivation, enthusiasm and dedication that all our volunteers give throughout the year and in all weathers. They truly deserve this acknowledgement of all they do to help look after a World Heritage Site.”
More information on the Groundwork Community Awards can be seen here: