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Two decades on, Fix the Fells work is needed more than ever, says National Trust - Fix the Fells and the National Trust

Nearly £10 million spent on repairing damage to hundreds of paths and erosion to mountain areas

Unsightly scars recovered and scenery and wildlife protected

Higher visitor numbers and extreme weather speeding up erosion in the much-loved Lake District landscape

Work by Fix the Fells – a partnership programme between the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Natural England, Lake District Foundation and Friends of the Lake District needed now more than ever

£500,000 now needed each year to repair damage caused by erosion

left: man standing in heavily erroded 'ditch'  ground level over his head. right side, mended smooth path
Bleng Wasdale: Before in 2016 and in 2017 after repairs. (Credit: Fix the Fells)

Today, Wednesday 18 August, marks the 20th anniversary of Fix the Fells, the organisation set up to protect the landscape and wildlife in the Lake District mountains.

Twenty years ago, unsightly scars caused by countryside users and rainfall plagued the Lake District landscape, in some instances creating gullies measuring 30 metres wide and four metres deep.

Recognising that something had to be done, several Lake District organisations got together to seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The bid was successful and led to the formation of Fix the Fells in 2001.

Since then, nearly £10 million has been spent on repairing hundreds of paths and erosion scars all across the Lakes to protect the much-loved scenery and precious wildlife.

Over the last 18 months, as a result of the pandemic and more people holidaying at home and visiting and enjoying the Lake District, erosion levels have increased, with the work done by Fix the Fells needed now more than ever.

With £500,000 spent in a typical year on repairs, and with every metre of path costing £150 to create, Fix the Fells needs donations to help repair paths damaged in the last 18 months, as well as fundraising for on-going maintenance and repairs.

Fix the Fells Programme Manager Joanne Backshall says: “It’s hard to imagine how some of the fells would look today if we hadn’t been able to start protecting this very special area of Britain. Some of the biggest challenges we’ve tackled over the past 20 years include the popular paths in the Langdale and Wasdale valleys, as well as the many mountains around Coniston, Grasmere and Keswick, which are all showing signs of increased use and resulting wear and tear since the pandemic began. Even over the last two decades we’ve started to see the impact of climate change. Heavy rain can damage the landscape by washing away large quantities of bare soil and stone and depositing it in rivers and lakes below. Combined with the human impact of thousands of feet tackling the hundreds of miles of paths across the Lake District, we need support more than ever to keep on top of the amount of repairs required on the upland paths.”

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