A PROJECT to maintain the more remote stretches of The Pennine Way has been a success thanks to a team of volunteers who have ventured out in all weathers to help look after the iconic walking trail.
Pennine Way People was set up by the North Pennines AONB Partnership in an attempt to make the route more user-friendly by carrying out a range of repairs including fixing fences, removing vegetation and mending well-worn footpaths.
After putting a call out for people to help with the work, the AONB Partnership soon had a group of willing volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the much-needed repairs.
Simon Fawcett, from the AONB Partnership, said: “The response we had from people willing to give up their spare time, in winter, was fantastic. It was great working with the volunteers. The enthusiasm and quality of work was brilliant. Each volunteer brought different skills, stories and humour to the team. The wading birds were often out in force with constant sightings of lapwing, curlew, redshank and snipe which everyone loved to see and it highlighted what a really special walk the Pennine Way is.”
The project, which has been funded by the Pennine Nationals Trails Partnership, has covered the 73-mile stretch of the trail that lies in the North Pennines.
Volunteers, who have taken on the mantle of ‘Pennine Way Champions’, have carried out work including clearing fallen trees in Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, installing fingerposts in Greenhead, Northumberland and repairing boardwalks in Garigill, Cumbria.
The project will now move on to a second stage where the 22 Pennine Way People Champions will continue to check their stretch of the route and report back to the AONB Partnership.
Simon said: “It’s been such a brilliant experience working with people who have happily given up hours of their spare time to look after a place that’s important to them. They’ve enjoyed the beauty and benefits of living near such an amazing walking route and they want to make sure it’s there for the next generation.”