2021 – 2023 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 between 2021 and 2023 is given below. For more information on our 2021 work programme, please contact Annie Duckworth (Fix the Fells Ranger) firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
2 Far Easedale and Greenup Edge, Grasmere
Another section of the Coast to Coast route which Storm Desmond severely damaged. The work here involves some further 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.
3 Stythwaite Steps to Easedale Tarn
This is a very popular path and managing users during the work will need careful consideration. The lower part of this path has been deteriorating, gullying and braiding markedly over the last few years. It now requires a considerable project to stabilise, pitch and drain the path line, with considerable landscaping to concentrate users onto one line. A helicopter lift is required for around 120 bags of stone.
4 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.
5 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. This site was extremely busy in 2020, with no option for diversion so progress was considerably less than planned.
6 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 2021 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.
7 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.
8 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. 130 bags will need to be flown in.
9 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.
10 Skiddaw/Jenkin Hill
This is a very busy path. It had a large project to repair the 22m wide erosion scar in 2003, and has had very little work since then. The plan this year is to restore any drains that are beginning to fail, remove braids and to work the upper reaches of the path up towards the top fence line. In places this section has gullied to several feet in depth, and has widened out to 8m or more.
11 Whiteless Pike, Buttermere
There have been several projects on this path over the years. The plan for 2021 is to work on the upper section of the path, mainly above the obvious flat col. Short sections of pitching up to steps, drains and pitching, landscaping braids and stabilising gullies will be carried out this year. 42 bags of stone will be flown in.
12 N660 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.
13 Fleetwith Pike, Honister
The main project on this path was carried out in the early 2000s, and has been very successful in stabilising the significant erosion. But almost 20 years on, the plan for 2021 is to fill in some increasing gullies, pitch up to steps that have developed and carry out general repair work. This site will require a safety fence, as the drop beneath the work site is steep and crossed by the path and the road. 34 bags of stone will be flown in.
14 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 several years.
15 High Seat to High Tove
This path runs straight across the peat bogs and is regularly absolutely saturated. The peat hags have been seriously eroded, and folk are spreading wide to find drier going – often a futile effort. NT, UU and CWT are tackling the peat damage, and in order for that project to work, Fix the Fells is creating a hard wearing path across the bogs. This will be our first flagged path, with reclaimed flags being used. A helicopter lift is required to supply 550m of flags, which will be installed by a machine.
16 Low Water and Coniston Old Man Upper
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.
17 Walna Scar/Goats Water/Goats Hause
Staff and volunteers will remove and recover increasing path braiding that is threatening to damage previous works.
18 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.
19 Gavel Neese
The popular path that runs straight up Great Gable from Wasdale. The work here, in the middle reaches of the path, is to reduce pigeon holing by knocking in the steps, re-turfing and re-seeding to give some more life to the ridgeline.
20 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. 30 bags stone is needed on site, requiring a helicopter lift.
21 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. This year, a machine will be flown in to rework the aggregate section. Below this, the team will tackle the increasing erosion scar by realigning and pitching the path, with considerable landscaping to deter off path use. This will be a major undertaking on an extremely busy path. 200 bags of stone will be required this year.
22 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.
23 Broad Crag Col, Scafell Pike
100m of work was carried out on this stretch in 2020. 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.
24 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.
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. Various Wasdale Crags : Bursting Knott, Yewbarrow, Lingmell Nose, Piers Gill, Corridor Route, Green Gable
These paths are all well used, and the lines they take leading onto bedrock varies depending on various factors. Every year the team will assess issues on these particular places and spend a few days as necessary to repair and correct deteriorating issues.
27 Barf to Lords Seat
This path runs across a section of peat, and with its increasing popularity is causing significant erosion. The plan is a straightforward sub-soiled path across the worst erosion, ensuring that the water can flow across the path as necessary. Once there is a hard wearing path, it is expected the damaged vegetation and peat will stabilise.
28 Greenside Mine to Red Tarn
Another very busy path, the erosion on here is reaching a critical point. Much of this path dates to 1996, so has coped remarkably well, but now needs some significant reworking. The entire sub-soiled section will be reworked to rebuild the drains, re-surface and provide a hard wearing surface again.
29 Howtown to the Cockpit and Moor Divock
This bridleway is part of the Ullswater Way. Generally it is in very good order, but a number of drains have lost their profile, and in places problems are on the verge of creating major washouts. At the Moor Divock end, the path has very little height and is regularly flooded, causing users to braid away from it and cause damage to the heather vegetation. The plan is to re sub-soil this section, and restore drainage along the rest of the route. One beck crossing may require a pitched ford to be installed if the machine cannot produce an acceptable gradient.
The 300+ 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.