Fix The Fells

Fix The Fells

Fix the Fells is a charity based in the Lake District

Fix The Fells 

Fix The Fells

Fix the Fells volunteers and rangers work hard to protect our spectacular landscape from erosion by repairing and maintaining the mountain paths. Why do we need to do this? A combination of millions of pairs of walking boots, the weather and gradient means erosion is a constant problem with some erosion scars ending up at 30 metres wide.

However, it is not just the visual impact of erosion. The work of Fix the Fells also helps protect the ecology and archaeology in the surrounding area. As paths erode, vegetation surrounding the paths is worn away and these species are often rare and classed as ‘protected’. Also, the soil ends up in tarns, streams and lakes, which can change the acidity levels and endanger rare fish and plant species. We recently did work on Striding Edge on Helvellyn to prevent soil falling into Red Tarn for just that reason. On Martcrag Moor, our path work helps protect the Neolithic axe remains in the area, as well as the peat-rich soil. 

Workers fixing a path

It is about our heritage as well. For centuries before the coming of tourists, the Lake District fells were places of work, leaving an ancient network of paths. Neolithic trade routes, shepherds’ paths, coffin routes, mining tracks, pony tracks and a host of footpaths enabled local communities, farmers, travelling merchants, Roman legionaries and miners to traverse this rugged landscape. You can be walking in the footsteps of all these people as well as Victorians, poets and adventurers when you are on the fells. 

Protecting the path on Helvellyn's Swirral Edge
Our materials, such as rocks, are sourced locally and our repair techniques are traditional (some many centuries old), from using sheep fleeces to stone-pitching. Whilst we use modern tools to help us with some of the work, such as helicopters to move rocks, most of the work is done by hand, by skilled volunteers and rangers. 

The work is run by a partnership of the National Trust, Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria County Council, Nurture Lakeland, Friends of the Lake District and Natural England. 

Our challenge? In the last ten years, Fix the Fells has repaired more than 200 paths with Heritage Lottery Funding. This funding has now ended and we need to raise £5 million over the next ten years to work on a further 120 paths. 

We are fortunate to have such strong support from local businesses that help raise money for Fix the Fells through Visitor Giving. We also receive donations from individuals and families and small grants from conservation organisations. 

How can you help?

Any amount that people can give is appreciated and if any business looking for corporate sponsorship opportunities we would love to hear from you. It all helps continue to protect our landscape and heritage. But just as important is spreading the word on what we do and encouraging people to keep to the paths wherever possible to help reduce erosion. 

As well as skilled rangers, we have a pool of volunteers who help with the work in all weather and I have been overwhelmed by how much they contribute. Their motivation? To give something back to the fells and the landscape they love whether they live locally or further away. Please get in touch if you want to get involved.

Finally – thank you to everyone for supporting our work.

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