Fix the Fells project wins an award22 July 2022
- Fix the Fells wins Park Protector Award by the Campaign for National Parks.
- The award is in recognition of work to look after and repair remote upland paths across the World Heritage Site.
- Work protects environmentally sensitive upland habitats and prevents scarring on the world-renowned landscape.
- The work is carried out by a team of 22 rangers and 130 volunteers who contributed over 2,200 days to fixing the fells in 2021.
- The Fix the Fells partnership is made up of National Trust, Lake District National Park Authority, Friends of the Lake District, Natural England and Lake District Foundation.
Fix the Fells – a huge, multi-agency project that looks after and repairs remote paths in the Lake District National Park – has won this year’s Park Protector Award in recognition of their ongoing work to protect the Cumbrian landscape.
The award, run by Campaign for National Parks and sponsored by WWF-UK, recognises and rewards the efforts that go into protecting and improving National Parks in England and Wales. The winners received their awards at a ceremony in the Houses of Parliament this week attended by MPs and Lords, National Park Authority Chief Executives and leading civil servants.
Preserving our Lake District Paths for Ramblers
For over 20 years, a team of skilled rangers and volunteers from the National Trust and Lake District National Park Authority have been repairing mountain paths, reversing the trend of erosion damage and restoring habitats. Rain or shine, they carry out work on many of the much-loved routes across the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and the Coast-to-Coast path.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Fix the Fells Ranger Annie Duckworth said, “It’s an absolute honour and privilege to receive this award. This is for the whole Fix the Fells team, the 25 ranger colleagues who build the paths, 130 volunteers maintaining the paths – the eyes and ears of the project – our five partner organisations and funders. We don’t receive Government funding for the project, it’s down to that support and dedication that we’re able to do what we do.”
Dr Rose O'Neill, Chief Executive of Campaign for National Parks, said: "We were blown away by the quality of nominations in this year's Park Protector Awards but there was one project that kept appearing - Fix the Fells. It was nominated by lots of different people, which speaks volumes, and when we delved into what it has achieved over the past couple of years it was clear to see why.
"The Lake District National Park is one of the most-visited and with that comes challenges, as well as opportunities, around caring for the landscape. Fix the Fells plays a central role in this, looking after hundreds of miles of path and perhaps even more notable is the make up of the team - with over 130 volunteers dedicating time and effort to this never-ending task.
"We're delighted to be able to recognise these efforts and award Fix the Fells our main Park Protector Award in front of MPs, Lords, leading civil servants and National Park Chief Executives in the Houses of Parliament this week. A big thank you to everyone involved in Fix the Fells - the Lake District wouldn't be the same without you."
A combination of millions of pairs of walking boots, heavy rainfall and gradient means erosion on the Lake District’s fells is a constant problem. Repair work is needed to reduce erosion scars and help protect the ecology and archaeological heritage of the beautiful landscape.
Earlier in the year Fix the Fells Programme Manager Joanne Backshall said: “It is wonderful that so many people are enjoying the Lake District fells each year. Now more than ever, we’re seeing more people reaping the benefits that spending time in nature can bring.
“Although the mountains will be here forever, they need on-going care. With so many people using these routes, human-related erosion is spiralling out of control and having a devastating effect on the landscape and wildlife.
“The work we are doing to repair and maintain eroded paths across Cumbria is critically important to protect this iconic landscape and its environmentally sensitive habitats, so that people can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Lakes for years to come.
By using local stone to repair and create more resilient paths better capable of managing increasing visitor numbers and severe weather events, Fix the Fells aims to reduce soil, gravel, stone and peat degradation in upland areas. Their degradation results in the loss of rare upland habitats and species, as well as having an adverse impact on rivers and lakes below as sediment is washed off the fellsides.
Joanne continues, “It’s a privilege to be able to work day in, day out caring for a National Park – especially one as beautiful as the Lake District. The National Parks are home to some of the best natural beauty and cultural heritage in the UK and are for the benefit of the people and wildlife.”
The Fix the Fells partnership, which includes the National Trust, Lake District National Park Authority, Friends of the Lake District, Natural England and Lake District Foundation, has been repairing paths in the Lake District for over 20 years, and needs over £500,000 each year to fix and maintain 400 miles of paths across the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project is part-funded until June 2023 by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
To make a donation to support this vital work looking after the Lake District’s precious scenery and wildlife, go to www.fixthefells.co.uk/donate/