Stairway to Ingleboroughby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Jan/2011
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The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) have teamed up to repair footpath erosion on one of the iconic Three Peaks.
Work has recently been completed to restore an eroded section on the path from Chapel-le-Dale to Ingleborough's summit, with the cost met jointly between the National Park Authority and the BMC's Access and Conservation Trust.
Steve Hastie, the Authority's Area Ranger for Ribblesdale and Three Peaks Project Manager said:
“The works this year consisted of rebuilding the pitched steps which zig zag up the steeper section of the Humphrey Bottom allotment. The slope is very steep and the path gets tremendous levels of use, I would estimate close to 50,000 walkers between April and November this year. This combination resulted in the steps slumping over, which meant the section of path was becoming difficult to use. In addition, the path is within the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve, so it's important to provide a good walking surface and protect the surrounding habitats. The finished result is a big improvement – it's now back to top condition.”
The Access and Conservation Trust is a joint initiative of the BMC in partnership with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCofI). It aims to promote and safeguard sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside through education and conservation projects. ACT administrator Cath Flitcroft said:
“The Access and Conservation Trust fully supports the objectives of the Three Peaks Project and is pleased to be able to assist the National Park Authority's work to maintain this important and popular footpath.”
The recent work is part of longstanding efforts to offset the detrimental impacts of the Three Peaks' great popularity. A 1986 study of the path network concluded that the region had the sad distinction of possessing the most severely eroded paths in the UK. In response the first Three Peaks Project was established by the YDNPA with a staff of 13. Its remit included trialling new path-engineering and re-vegetating techniques to provide sustainable routes and to allow damaged surrounding land to recover. Since 2004 the management and maintenance of the Three Peaks network has reverted back to the YDNPA's Rangers – a team of just two officers covering the whole of the wider Ribblesdale area. The latest project aims to create a sustainable source of both practical and financial support that will help protect and enhance the area and the rights of way network. Since its launch, many of the charities that regularly use the Three Peaks for sponsored events have volunteered to donate money towards the upkeep of the area.
The YDNPA has set up a group, Friends of the Three Peaks, to help support their ongoing work, with an events programme including ranger guided walks and path maintenance sessions. Membership is open to all, with a suggested minimum annual donation of £10.
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