You see we’re one of four upland footpath teams that work for the National Trust in the Lake District. We spend our days out and about on the high fells undertaking work for ‘Fix the Fells’, a partnership project that aims to protect the spectacular Lakeland fells from erosion by maintaining and repairing the paths. With over 1,920 miles of rights of way (LDNP 2014) within the National Park there is plenty of work to keep us and the other Upland teams busy, so we do focus purely on the high routes. It means we call places such as Striding Edge, Scafell Pike, Crinkle Crags and Catbells our office, giving us a pretty good lunch time view! Even when we spend a number of days on a project on the same fell every day for us can be different. Whether it’s the people we meet, the weather we contend with or just the work on the ground, it all varies and it all keeps us on our toes.
Using techniques such as stone pitching, soil inversion and using sheep fleece to ‘float’ paths across bogs we’re keeping heritage skills and techniques alive in the fells, whilst ensuring access to them is as sustainable as possible. It’s a highly skilled role that enables us to be part craftsperson and part artist; after all we need to make sure any path we build blends in to the natural environment. We’re also ably supported by our volunteer ‘Lengthsmen’ who help us maintain the paths and come out to work with the teams on regular work parties. Working together we’re keeping the footpaths in the Lakes in tip-top shape!
This Article was provided by Sarah Anderson, Ranger (Uplands), Coniston, Cumbria
You can follow Sarah on Twitter: @NTLakesFells
Follow the Countryside Ranger blog at: http://www.countryside-catchup.blogspot.co.uk/