Mending Mountain Paths in our National Parks

Dr Catherine Flitcroft, Access and Conservation Policy Officer for our council member, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) discusses the BMC’s crowdfunding campaign to raise money for environmental projects on some of Britain’s most iconic peaks: Mend Our Mountains.

Working with eight national parks, the BMC has undertaken its biggest campaign to date, aiming to raise more than £100,000 to repair damaged paths on some of Britain’s most popular peaks, including the respective highest mountains of England and Wales – Scafell Pike and Snowdon. The campaign also features Ingleborough (Yorkshire Dales), Kinder Scout (Peak District) and part of the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe, as well as vital repairs to moorland on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the North York Moors.  For a few quid (or a bit more if you’re feeling flush) donors receive a reward in return for their donation (lunch with Sir Chris Bonington was bought up very quickly but there’s still a helicopter ride in the Yorkshire Dales left!)

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/campaign/mend-our-mountains

Over the past few years, the BMC has helped fund numerous path repair works across England and Wales (though our charitable arm, the Access & Conservation Trust) – for instance path repair work in the Lakes (Scafell Pike plateau and Dale Head), part of the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk in the North Pennines and upland footpath restoration work at the Roaches, Staffordshire and various sections of path in the Yorkshire Dales which see heavy footfall as a result of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

More people are experiencing the outdoors which is great news but with increasing visitor numbers to our national parks and smaller budgets, compounded by the extensive damage of recent flooding, we were therefore spurred on to do more and appeal to the generous outdoor public to try and raise much needed funds to repair well-trodden paths in popular mountain and moorland areas.  We’ve all noticed those large erosion scars – some as wide as the M1 in places which we actively skirt despite the impact to the local ecology! 

To manage this problem needs effective intervention, usually through the construction of paths, which help to heal the mountain landscape and protect habitats and wildlife – but these are not cheap to construct.

 

Mend Our Mountains got off to a fantastic start. After just two days we netted almost £15,000 worth of donations, with £12,000 on the first day alone but there's still a long way to go before we hit our £100,000 target (at the time of writing we have raised £50,214). Some of the projects are on track to meeting their target – popular walking areas such as the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia and the Peak District for example are all more than half of the way to their total thanks to a mixture of strong local support, and appealing rewards.

Other projects are not faring so strongly at the moment. Mend the Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the North York Moors need a boost to help them reach their target.

Famous outdoor names such as Sir Chris Bonington, Doug Scott CBE and Julia Bradbury are already supporting the campaign and it's hugely encouraging to see so many people responding to the opportunity to give something back to the beautiful outdoor environment that helps to keep us sane and happy - now the big task is to try and make the campaign reach the wider layers of the outdoor public who might not have heard about it.

A big part of this will be fostering grassroots support for the individual projects on the ground.  If you can help then please do so by donating, spreading the word or alternatively by offering a weird and wonderful prize (perhaps you can offer a guided walk, a unique experience or some vouchers for somewhere local) - we are looking for more local prizes to add to the appeal to generate new interest all of the time. 

If the same number of people who walked up Snowdon in a year gave just 20p, we would hit our target. The Mend Our Mountains campaign will run for two months, until 16 May.  For more information please contact Cath Flitcroft on 0161 4383333 or email cath@thebmc.co.uk

As part of our 80th anniversary we've launched a survey asking people what they like about National Parks at the moment,  but also what they would like to see improved.

Click here to do our survey in English

Click here to do our survey in Welsh

 

Please note, the opinions expressed in this and all our blogs are of the author, and not endorsed by Campaign for National Parks. We are hosting blogs on a variety of subjects to provoke thought and discussion about National Parks.