Plea to keep Lakes walkers on track

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The National Trust is launching a £300,000 appeal to repair footpaths in the Lake District.

More than a mile of paths on National Trust land, including up to England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike and Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags, one of Alfred Wainwright’s favourite walks, need replacing over the next two years.

Restoring the routes which give access to England’s largest national park will cost £160 per metre, or £250,000 per mile, the National Trust said.

With extreme weather at the beginning of the year and an estimated 10 per cent increase in Lake District visitors on last year, path maintenance and restoration has become even more critical.

Funding raised by the National Trust will prevent footpath erosion and protect surrounding wildlife from harm in the fells, the charity said.

When paths become eroded, they create scars on the landscape and destroy fragile wildlife habitats and even threaten species.

Fish including the rare vendace, as well as trout and salmon, are under threat because spawning grounds are damaged by soil and debris washed off the paths and into lakes and streams, the Trust said.

Repair work will protect old sheep routes which were linked to medieval monasteries, coffin routes which transported the dead to churches in remote areas, traditional tracks used by farmers and miners and even Neolithic trading paths. The money will be used for measures including creating drainage channels.

The Trust will use traditional “stone-pitching”, a Roman method using local stones in the ground to create paths that require minimal maintenance.