2020 Work Programme

Fell path repair work is prioritised and agreed by the Fix the Fells Programme Board. The Board has representatives from the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Friends of the Lake District, Lake District Foundation and Natural England.

The prioritisation of which paths we work on is based on the current condition of the paths and the future impact they are likely to have on the landscape, ecology and archaeology. More detailed specifications are drawn up each year using nationally agreed best practice principles.

For more details please visit our Path Repair Techniques page.

Outline information on the paths under consideration for repair in 2020 is given below. For more information on our 2020 work programme, please contact Richard Fox (Fix the Fells Ranger) richard.fox@lakedistrict.gov.uk

All work is subject to the relevant permissions before being undertaken.

Paths under consideration for repair

All repairs are subject to obtaining the land owner’s permission, the appropriate consents, the practicalities and the funding.  The list is subject to change depending on these and other factors such as extreme weather events.

1. Side Farm to Boredale Hause bridleway, Patterdale (Coast to Coast)
The two routes to Boredale Hause have been completed over the last few years. However, before the two paths split, there are a couple of beck crossings that need to be stabilised and stone pitched. Stone is on site, but this path is very busy in summer and needs low water levels for the work to be undertaken.

2. Loughrigg Terrace to Loughrigg Summit, Grasmere
This path is a very popular route as it is almost the only way off Loughrigg in the Grasmere direction. It is steep and a very challenging site to work on, so will be undertaken over at least two years. It has been stone pitched in the past, but now needs to be re-worked. Stone will be flown onto site to add to the stone that can be re-used.

3. Gowbarrow, Ullswater Way
Since the implementation of the Ullswater Way, this path has seen a considerable increase in use, and wear. The old path kept close to the wall, but at the steep section there is exposed bedrock, which few users wish to use, so they spread across the vegetation looking for easier footing. This spreads the erosion quite quickly, exposing more bedrock which exacerbates the problem. In order to try to stop the spread of damage, the plan is to build a better path through the bedrock to preserve the topsoil and vegetation. The path will be surfaced with a suitable local aggregate as there is no material on site, and some stone on the steeper sections.

4. Helm Crag, Grasmere
This path is very popular as a relatively short walk out of Grasmere. It allows folk to reach the famous ‘Lion and Lamb’ summit and superb views without major effort. There has been considerable work to repair this path over the years. For 2020, there is some relatively minor work planned to improve drainage and contain users onto a narrower route to reduce the visual and environmental impact of access.

5. Side Pike, Langdale
The zig-zag path behind the campsite was significantly stabilised around 15 years ago by realigning and subsoiling. This path is heavily used and now needs an airlift of stone to build a number of drains to shed water off the aggregate surface.

6. Grisedale Hause to Seat Sandal
This path has been steadily deteriorating for a number of years. As material is worn away, folk spread out to the sides of the path and further erosion results. As the path is steep, and the soils and vegetation vulnerable, the process is quite quick. The plan here is to fly some stone to site, but also to use some on site stone to stabilise the section of path most at risk of collapse from scrabbling and undermining. Small retaining walls will assist here.

7. Sun Inn-Old Man Lower/Coniston Old Man, Coniston
Coniston Old Man suffers tremendously from very heavy pressure of use. The summit cone will require significant works in the coming years, but for now the plan is for fairly minor work to stabilise existing pitching and drains with some landscaping of path edges to deter folk leaving the path.

8. Three Tarns to Bowfell
This area has been significantly damaged in the past by widespread trampling. Work has been done to the gully to try to stabilise a path, but after winter snow, the favoured route changes, causing damage to the previous line. After a number of years, it is now necessary to return, assess the best line and make repairs or alterations to the previous route as necessary. The gully is dynamic, and a hard, fixed, stone pitched path is not felt to be appropriate.

9. Far Easedale and Greenup Edge, Grasmere (Coast to Coast)
Another section of the Coast to Coast route which Storm Desmond severely damaged. The work here involves some stone pitching, alignment and landscaping gullied path lines, building stone beck crossings and installing stone drains to shed water frequently. As a bridleway, the work will take consideration of all users, but being a steep site, stone pitching will have to be used in places to provide a stable surface.

10. Dovedale, Patterdale
The right of way path up Dovedale is currently eroding fairly rapidly. Water has got onto the path in a number of places, and is causing much material loss. This project will be carried out over two years. The first year has seen the installation of some drainage higher up. This year we will install some stone pitching to the worst gullied sections to try to stabilise the surface from further erosion. From observation, this route has gradually become more popular over the years than the other Dovedale route, which takes a more sustainable line. Stone has already been flown onto site in 2019.

11. Striding & Swirral Edges, Helvellyn
These routes are monitored and repaired each year as new path lines develop. These are often caused by fell users being diverted by lingering snow fields. We assess them once the snow has melted and carry out remedial works if necessary. This usually consists of landscaping work to hide new emerging paths and re-alignment to encourage folk back onto the well worn hard surfaces rather than fragile and ecologically important arctic alpine vegetation.

12. Wansfell East, Ambleside
This path has had steady use, never as much as Wansfell’s west side, but still popular. Sections of this path have been managed and stabilised over the years with sections of landscaping, alignment and pitching. The plan for 2020 is to continue with this theme on another section that is braiding and gullying. Some stone work will be installed, for surfacing and drainage. We prioritise a job like this because of the threat to previous works if we don’t do it.

13. Stephenson Ground
The bridleway that runs up to Walna Scar from the back of Stephenson Ground has been receiving minor works for a number of years, after a more major project some years ago resurfaced the middle section. Stone fords and drains have been installed to shed the water and the plan is to carry out more of this work, along with some landscaping to remove eroding braids. The original drains from when this was a quarry road have long since failed or grown in, and the work has become a higher priority with the increased use that this route now receives as an important link in particular for mountain biking.

14. Mickleden Sheepfold to Stake Pass & Martcrag Moor
The work here is a continuation of 2018 work at the same site. Path work on Martcrag Moor is to limit the damage to the fragile bog vegetation and peat, by concentrating pressure onto one line, and stabilising that line with sheepfleece base and local aggregate surface, dug from borrow pits. Fleece is on site, gathered from local sheep, and all the work is to be carried out by hand. On Stake Pass, minor works will improve drainage and remove emerging braids. This work has been highlighted by volunteers on regular maintenance duties.

15. Nan Bield/Kentmere to Nan Bield
The ancient zig-zags at the top of this old packhorse route have become incised from years of wear and water. This has the effect of further gathering water, increasing the rate and extent of erosion. Plans for this route are mostly minor improvements of drainage on corners as well as some stabilisation of a big erosion ‘hole’ at the bottom of the zig-zags.

16. Gillercomb, Borrowdale
This path was repaired many years ago, using a style that would not be copied today. Over the years the stone has become polished and moved so the path is now tricky to negotiate and deters folk from staying on it. It is beyond the stage of straightforward repairs; the stone needs to be re-laid to create a better user surface with improved drainage, and the edges need re-landscaping to prevent further erosion. Stone will be re-used as far as possible, but more stone will be needed. There is some considerable length in need of work, so this project is being completed over a couple of years, 2020 being the second.

17. Rosthwaite to Watendlath
Some minor drainage works are planned near to the summit of the path to protect the path descending to Watendlath. Some off path landscaping required.

18. Castle Crag, Borrowdale
Minor works are planned to improve path drainage and stabilise a section of eroding path.

19. Greenup Edge
The Coast to Coast path receives many long distance walkers and this pressure of use has taken its toll on the state of the path on the Borrowdale side of Greenup Edge. The work here is not significant, but will align the path away from wet areas, improve path drainage and improve stability of an eroding section.

20. Styhead Tarn
Work along this path is a continuation of previous years. Drains need to be rebuilt and lengthened, and path sides re-landscaped to reduce the spread of trampling and erosion. Works will be fairly minor.

21. Calf Cove
This path was repaired many years ago, and is now at the stage it needs some further remedial work. The plan here is to stabilise pitching and drainage features, with some re-landscaping of the edges to deter folk from leaving the sustainable surface.

22. Broad Crag Col, Scafell Pike
100m of work was carried out on this stretch last year. No work has been carried out on this section before, and the erosion is now wide and extensive. Virtually all the vegetation has been obliterated either by erosion or by smothering from deposited material. Although a high priority, work has not been carried out before due to the remote location and lack of a clear plan to deal with the damage. This year, the plan is to carry out about a week’s work involving landscaping works by hand to try to define a line through the erosion that will stabilise some of the erosion, and direct folk onto a more robust and stable line. Water dispersal features will be essential to manage the flow. Due to the nature of the site and its geology, the work will be somewhat experimental and its success will be monitored.

23. Brown Tongue to Hollowstone, Scafell Pike
This is a continuation of previous year’s work. Old, narrow, substandard pitching is being replaced with new pitching, more drainage, wider, and to a modern standard, requiring a helicopter lift. Work is required above and below the beck crossing and up to the Hollowstones junction. This path is so heavily used that it requires annual attention. Experience shows that erosion rapidly gets out of hand on this path if nothing is done, so we are constantly trying to stay on top of problems. Considerable more stone is needed on site, requiring a helicopter lift.

24. Lingmell Breast from The Green, Scafell Pike
Similar to other paths on Scafell Pike, the footfall on this route is very high, particularly as it leads from the biggest and currently free parking area in Wasdale. This path has been suffering from extensive braiding, gullying and general degradation from heavy use. Work has been carried out over the years, but really needs a larger project to tackle the increasing problems. Since 2018, the team have been experimentally trying to repair this route solely with material won on site. This technique won’t work in every location, but results here have been very encouraging.

25. Scafell Pike Summit paths
Scafell Pike receives a vast number of users every year, all year, and particularly at all times of day and night. Group sizes can be very big, as such a high proportion of users are charity groups. As a result, paths are rapidly damaged and widened, particularly as many of the users will be inexperienced and trying to find soft vegetation to use. Maintenance and minor project work is endless to try to hold surfaces together, rationalize the spread of random cairns and to limit erosion where possible. All these works will be carried out by hand using locally won materials.

26. Hollowstones to Lingmell Col
This path was significantly reworked 15 years ago by machine. It is very busy all year round, and being just an aggregate surface means that it is constantly prone to erosion. In the near future, we need to reprofile the path to improve drainage, but for this year, a few days work will help hold drainage together for a bit longer.

27. Scarth Gap to Haystacks
This path has always been steep and tricky for inexperienced users. As it wears, bedrock is exposed, users are intimidated and look for another way, and the problem expands. The plan is for about a week’s work to try to redirect users onto the best, most sustainable line, that has had some pitching and drainage works done many years ago.


The 200+ sections of path that have been worked on in previous years will continue to be maintained as per a traffic light system. Paths are rated according to the number of times our volunteers and rangers need to return to them in order to clear the drains and sweep the stone pitching of any loose stones. The traffic light systems works as follows:

Green: Twice a year

Amber: Three times a year

Red: Four times a year

In addition, Fix the Fells rangers and volunteers will undertake any minor repair works that are required, particularly on well used paths such as the Coast to Coast path and popular mountain routes.