Helicopter help for Lake District footpath repairs

More than three quarters of a million tonnes of stone is being flown by helicopter in a bid to fix some of the Lake District’s most popular paths.

Volunteers and rangers have spent the last six months gathering the stones, which will be lifted by helicopter to remote paths. Among the paths in urgent need of repair is the main tourist route up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, and a busy route to the summit of Helvellyn.

The work is being carried out on behalf of Fix the Fells, a partnership backed by the National Trust, Lake District National Park and other partners that has been tasked with repairing some of the Lake District’s most worn paths.

Heli lift ullswater

A helicopter lifts bags of stone in the Ullswater valley. CREDIT: Adrian Mills/National Trust

The helicopter lifts will make a huge difference to the repair work, Fix the Fells programme manager Joanne Backshall said.

She said: “It will allow us to move heavy stones to areas that badly need them. Without the helicopter it would be impossible for us to carry out the work that is needed.

“Our teams of Fix the Fells Rangers, aided by our volunteers, have already hand-filled nearly 800 bags with stone, each bag weighing approximately 950 kg. These will be lifted in to place one by one by a Squirrel helicopter.”

The air drops will allow National Trust repair teams to then move the stones into place, stabilising the paths to prevent erosion and preventing them from becoming scars on the landscape.

The helicopter flights are taking place in Borrowdale, Ullswater, Wasdale and Grasmere, weather permitting.

Path erosion can see soil more easily wash off the fells and into streams and lakes and lakes. By repairing the stone paths, rangers will help slow soil erosion and prevent the paths from spreading out further.

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One year on: Storm Desmond and the Lake District

One year on from Storm Desmond, National Trust rangers in the Lake District are still fixing the damaged caused by floods that left the charity with facing a million pound clean-up bill – including £600,000 worth of uninsured damage.

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View from Latrigg 2016. Credit John Malley

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National Trust – Farming in the Lakes

Mike Innerdale, Assistant Director of Operations in the North, said:

The majority of our farms in the Lakes are leased on multi-generational or life-time tenancies (51 out of 91) under specific legislation. The rest of our tenancies are offered for an average minimum length of 15-years, which is three times longer than the national average and goes well beyond the 10-year minimum the Tenants’ Farmers Association has been calling for across the industry.

We want to maintain and  build strong, long-term relationships with our farm tenants in the Lakes: they need to know we’re committed to them and supporting them –  so that they have the confidence to invest in their business.  We will be writing to all our tenants in the Lakes to reassure them of our long-term commitment to hill farming and hill  farmers. We are also discussing with farming representatives about how we make the tenancy renewal process as fair, transparent and open as possible. We want long-term tenants and there’s no reason why tenancies wouldn’t be renewed if both parties are happy.

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National Trust unveils highlights of its Theatre line-up at BBC Countryfile Live

August sees the first ever BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire which aims to celebrate all aspects of the British countryside.

The British coast and countryside are loved and admired around the world. But, behind the stunning scenery and breath-taking views, there are important questions and controversial issues affecting the future of rural Britain.

Close view of the Pennine Way path at Standedge on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Close view of the Pennine Way path at Standedge on Marsden Moor showing cracks in the Moss beyond, seen under a stormy sky with the sun under dark clouds.  Credit NT Images & Joe Cornish

A series of thought-provoking debates on the most important  issues affecting rural Britain is scheduled over the course of the four days in the National Trust Theatre.

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The impact of Storm Desmond on National Trust places

Storm Desmond has swept across the north of England affecting many National Trust places in the Lake District and a much loved woodland area in Northumberland.

More than a month’s rainfall fell in some parts of Cumbria with records being broken.

Our teams are out assessing the impact of the floods and working with our tenant farmers and supporting the local communities.

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Expanding two precious National Parks

The Government has today announced that it is expanding the size of two of England’s National Parks – the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Reacting to this exciting announcement Mike Innerdale, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations in the North Region, said: “Expanding the size of these two precious National Parks, loved by millions of people is great news.

“These treasured landscapes play such an important part in connecting people to beautiful places, rich in nature and wonderful human stories. The two new larger National Parks mean that we’ll be able to work more effectively with our partner organisations on a bigger scale to enrich the natural environment and create the space for wildlife and people to flourish.

View of two adult walkers returning from their farm trail on Low Sizergh Farm in Kendal, Cumbria. The path is on a route around the farm and estate. (M.R.)

View of two adult walkers returning from their farm trail on Low Sizergh Farm in Kendal, Cumbria. The path is on a route around the farm and estate.

“We especially welcome the recognition of the scenic, cultural and ecological qualities of the National Trust’s Sizergh Estate and the contribution that this special place will make to the newly expanded Lake District National Park in the future. Its a place enjoyed by walkers, nature lovers and people that are passionate about history”

National Trust sign for the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire.

National Trust sign for the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire.

The National Trust owns 25% of the Lake District National Park including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, and farms given to the conservation charity by Beatrix Potter. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park the Trust manages 6,000 hectares including Malham Tarn and Upper Wharfedale.

Around 40 per cent of National Trust land can be found in the National Parks of England and Wales.