The North Pennines AONB Partnership is working with a range of partners, including the Friends of the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), to repair part of Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walking route.
About the project
Voted the second best walk in the world by the readers of Country Walking magazine, Wainwright’s 190-mile Coast to Coast trail attracts thousands of walkers each year. The route from Kirkby Stephen, via Nine Standards Rigg, to Keld, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, crosses large areas of blanket bog and takes in some of the most beautiful places in England. But despite its beauty and popularity, or probably because of it, the route is suffering. The high amount of foot traffic along certain parts of the route is exacerbating the peat erosion and damaging the structure of the peat. To combat this the YDNPA has set up alternative routes to be taken during the winter months in an attempt to re-direct walkers away from fragile parts. However, the area near Nine Standards Rigg is still extremely boggy with very little vegetation. With no clear route to follow, walkers have found themselves lost and some have even become stuck in the bog. In 2016 a walker became immersed in the peat resulting in a team of five volunteers from Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue being called out to free him.
The Partnership has received funding from a number of organisations, both charitable and private companies. These include HF Holidays, the British Mountaineering Council’s Access and Conservation Trust, Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust, The Wainwright’s Society and the Friends of the Lake District. The YDNPA has also been successful in raising funds from the Tesco Bags of Help fund and are improving the footpath in Yorkshire.
The North Pennines AONB Partnership also ran a successful Crowdfunding campaign to not only raise funding for the work but also the profile of the project. The campaign was called Raising The Standard and was launched on Monday 21st March 2016 for five weeks. We had over 100 individual contributions to the project and raised a grand total of £30,500. Crowdfunding is a way of asking members of the public for donations towards the project on a mass scale. A video was produced for the Crowdfunding campaign that can be viewed here
With £30,500 from the North Pennines AONB Partnership and £14,000 from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), there will be a total of 390 metres of reclaimed stone flags being laid along the section of the Coast to Coast. The flags will ‘float’ on top of the damaged peat and will not only protect the peat, but give people a stable surface to walk on and encourage them to stick to a dedicated route which will prevent the area eroding further.
Money from the YDNPA will also be used to spread heather brash (cut moorland vegetation) over the bare peat and a stone signifying the boundary between Cumbria and Yorkshire. We will also be replacing two signposts to help walkers navigate the route.
This section of the Coast to Coast is not a Public Right of Way but accessed as a permissive route and under the Open Access legislation. To ensure future maintenance of the route, Cumbria County Council has agreed to adopt the section as a Right of Way once the improvements have been completed in April 2017.
One of the new signposts will have a ledge on it to enable walkers of the Coast to Coast to take fixed point photos of the project area using their mobile phone. This is not only allow us to monitor the vegetation recovery but also give us an insight into who and how many people are walking the route.
If you do walk the Coast to Coast and walk over the flags it would be great to hear from you. Find us on Facebook – North Pennines AONB or on Twitter @NorthPennAONB and please use the hashtag #BogStandard in your posts so that we can easily find them.
Alternatively you can email Alistair Lockett and updates will be posted on social media by the Partnership.