Crowdfunding campaign to pave the way for generations of walkers
A Crowdfunding appeal to raise money to repair a damaged stretch of Alfred Wainwright’s iconic Coast-to-Coast walking route has been a success.
A Little Help From Our Friends
Lead by the team at The North Pennines AONB Partnership, in collaboration with the Friends of the North Pennines, following concerns about the declining state of the well-worn route, and backed by TV presenter Julia Bradbury and author and shepherdess Amanda Owen, the online campaign has toppled its target of £15,000.
Thanks to generous donations from individuals, community groups and the business sector, a total of £21,405 means that the part of the route that runs between Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria and Keld in North Yorkshire, which was proving hazardous for walkers, will be flagged with stone.
Alistair Lockett, Field Officer from the AONB Partnership, said: “Because of our jobs we’re out and about on these fells every week and it came to our attention that this particular stretch of the route was becoming so bad that people had literally become bogged down. Several walkers have had to be rescued after getting stuck up to their waist in the mud.”
Work To Begin This Autumn
Now that the money has been raised the team will set to work on repairing the historic route that attracts thousands of walkers to the north every year.
Preparations have already begun and it is expected the practical work, which includes laying huge stone flags on the eroded ground, and restoring the adjoining peat, will begin in the autumn.
Julie Bradbury and The Outdoor Guide, who lent support to the campaign, said: “This is, without doubt, one of my favourite walks in the UK. All the people who have supported this campaign should give themselves a pat on the back because without them, Alfred Wainwright’s intended route could have been lost for ever. Well done to everyone involved, especially the team at the AONB Partnership for kicking it off. It goes to show just how important our countryside is to people and for me, as a champion of our great outdoors, that’s particularly heart-warming.”
As well as helping walkers enjoy the route the repaired path means business will continue as normal, which is good news for local traders who reply on the passing trade.
Important For The Future
Ann Sandell, Chair of Kirkby Stephen & District Walkers are Welcome, said: “I have been delighted to support the campaign. This Coast to Coast route over Nine Standards is incredibly important to the economy of Kirkby Stephen. Finding a sustainable solution to the problem of peat erosion and the boggy conditions is so important to the future of the area and trail’s future.’
Alistair Lockett praised the charity The Friends of the North Pennies, who supported the campaign, as well as the people who have donated so far. Major contributors include HF Holidays, Friends of the Lake District, British Mountaineering Council, The Wainwright Society and Swaledale Outdoor Club. Plus everyone who donated incentives to encourage donations, from artwork to ale.
He said: “Without all these people we wouldn’t have made the total. But while we are over-the-moon with these big donations we also can’t express our gratitude enough to all the other people who gave personal contributions. To know so many people feel so passionate about preserving the future of this walk is genuinely life-affirming. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone for donations, big and small.”
Jon Charlton, a Trustee of FONP, said: “We are committed to celebrating and helping to preserve the special qualities of the AONB. We are proud to have been able to help with this excellent campaign. Its success shows just how much others care about this very special place.”
You Can Still Donate
The Crowdfunding campaign is now over but it is not too late to donate. The AONB Partnership will be collecting via donation boxes along the route and also public donations so that more of the route, over the damaged peat, can be flagged. If you’d like to help continue this restoration process please contact Alistair Lockett or Emma Taylor on 01388 528801.
Released: 20 May 2016