VOLUNTEERS with a passion for the countryside and a sense of place are being sought to help look after a stretch of one of the country’s most iconic walking routes as part of a new project called Pennine Way People.
The Pennine Way National Trail attracts thousands of walkers every year and when combined with temperamental weather conditions the trail can become a victim of its own success, with the ground underfoot becoming boggy and eroded.
In a bid to keep the route in a good condition, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has launched a project to gather together people who are willing to look after the iconic route, which turned 50 last year.
Pennine Way People, which is funded by the Pennine National Trails Partnership, will initially look after a 73-mile stretch of the trail which falls in the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark, between Tan Hill on the Teesdale and North Yorkshire border to Greenhead in Northumberland
As well as being able to take part in practical work parties – including footpath repairs and way marking – volunteers can apply to be allocated a specific stretch of the route to look after as it’s ‘champion’.
Sarah Tooze, from the North Pennines AONB Partnership who is leading the project, said: “Because the route is so popular a lot of upkeep is needed. Some of the areas are quite remote so it’s not an easy job and the local authorities who look after the trail welcome the support that volunteers can bring to what is an almost endless task.
“I think a project like this can give people a sense of pride in places that mean something to them, improving the experience for others and quite frankly, we need volunteers to be guardians of the countryside for future generations.”
Anyone who is interested in getting involved in the project, which will begin this month, can contact Sarah Tooze or Simon Wilson on 01388 528801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org