Conservation Family Adventure Capital Have a Go

Working Party! Volunteers Head Out to Fix the Fells

Written by Stuart Wickes

Working Party! Volunteers Head Out to Fix the Fells

When you are out walking do you ever wonder who made your footpath? Or do you imagine it has been there since the beginning of time? We checked out a National Trust conservation project in the Lake District that aims to ‘Fix The Fells‘ after people like you and I have made our mark on the landscape…..

Are you a vandal?

Hey You.

Yes YOU!

Are you a vandal?

There’s work to be done on the fells..

Are you sure?

No? Are you sure?

Do you ever go for a walk in the countryside?

Lake District Fix the Fells Conservation

This path is being eroded by popular consent

You probably are..


Then you probably are.

And it’s people like this who volunteer to spend time clearing up after people like you.

Conservation Volunteers Lake District

Luckily there are volunteers who are helping fix things up…

You may not know it but every step you take leaves its mark on the land. And in busy places a thousand steps adds up to more than a footprint, more like the mark of a giants clodhoppers.

Wray Castle Footpath Windermere

This path was all hand built by volunteer effort

Every footstep leaves a mark

You probably don’t even know you are a persistent offender. We all take the countryside for granted don’t we? We all wander off paths from time to time, or just walk beside them. But every time your foot strays from the path or squelches in the mud it erodes the very beauty you have come to enjoy.

Lake District Buttermere

The views may be great, but the damage underfoot is not always so attractive

Luckily for our fragile earth, there is a silent army of people, working all year round to repair the damage you inadvertently do. They toil tirelessly to lay hedges, repair upland paths and restore woodland areas. They shovel gravel. They cut hinges in turf and pack it with soil. They fill damaged peat bogs with sheep’s wool to build paths across them. They haul rock around fell. They measure things with a stick and eat cake in the rain.

Let’s get shovelling

Think of these folk who help fix it

So when you are eating your cake in the rain, think of him eating his cake after doing this….

Conservation Volunteer at Work

Fill that wheelbarrow

Or this…

National Trust Fix the Fells Conservation Volunteer

Wheel it to where it’s needed

Or even this…

National Trust Fix the Fells Conservation Volunteer

Rake it even

You can join in too

When you are stomping out a new and exciting route, think of how much work others may have done to allow you to do it and what they may have to do in your wake. Or think about joining them.

National Trust Fix the Fells Conservation Volunteers

Not a chain gang but a group of willing volunteers

The people in these pictures have come together as part of Fix the Fells; a partnership involving the National Trust and a collection of organisations who have an interest in protecting the landscape and educating people to walk responsibly. If you live or visit the Lake District, you can volunteer to help too; joining them for a day to do your bit, or a week’s working holiday camping on the fells to really make a difference.

National Trust Basecamp Lake District Wray

The National Trust has a Lake District Base Camp at High Wray

Paths don’t make themselves

But this project isn’t unique to the Lake District. Wherever you are in the great outdoors, there will be visible signs of those invisible volunteers. A path doesn’t make itself. The countryside can’t protect itself. If you are one of nature’s ‘vandals’ then why not minimise your impact by walking responsibly, using existing paths. Or pick up a shovel and get stuck in. If you are local to The Lake District and would like to help then get in touch with the National Trust’s High Wray Base Camp ranger Rob Clarke through their Facebook page.

Rob Clarke, Base Camp Community Ranger

And please don’t make the excuse that the dog ate your wellies. The world is full of wellies.

Even if the dog ate your wellies, Rob can lend you some

Have you taken part in any conservation work? We’d love to hear about it. Click comments below and join the conversation.


This post is part of our Family Adventure Capital Season. We’re exploring different ways families can adventure together in and around Cumbria, sharing ideas and inspiration to encourage families to get out, get active and adventure together.

Got some ideas for things we should try? Let us know.

You might also like these other posts about adventures in Cumbria:


About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


  • What a great experience for your family – when I was younger, I was a part of an Explorer Scouts group and we repaired a trail in the mountains of Nevada. At the time, I didn’t really understand the importance of what we were doing but now as an adult- I do!

    Thanks for linking up – hope you have a glorious weekend.

  • I didn’t realize how much maintenance goes into these trails until last year when my husband and I hiked a trail in Cedar Breaks National Monument that hadn’t yet been cleared after the winter. Thanks for helping out!

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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