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The Old Man of Coniston to undergo repair work

PUBLISHED: 17:16 07 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:41 11 August 2016

Coniston Old Man by Rob Mcewen

Coniston Old Man by Rob Mcewen

Archant

Hundreds of tons of stone to be airlifted in to restore popular footpath

Descending The Old Man of Coniston on route to Dow Crag by John CobhamDescending The Old Man of Coniston on route to Dow Crag by John Cobham

LIKE most old men, the mountain dominating Coniston has been in need of a little tender loving care.

This month an intrepid team of conservationists and their volunteer friends are due to be air-lifting hundreds of tons of stone onto The Old Man of Coniston to repair its foot-sore pathways.

The section targeted is the footpath from Goat’s Hawes, a popular pass, to the 2,634 feet high summit. It brings in tens of thousands of walkers every year but there is a price to pay.

The impact of millions of footsteps on the fragile terrain causes massive erosion, scarring to the landscape and impacting on vulnerable vegetation. Sediment from erosion causes problems in water bodies downstream and rare vegetation and rock features are being damaged when walkers stray from the path.

Fix the Fells ranger Richard Fox explains: ‘If the path is not maintained, then it gets wider and wider as people step onto the vegetation on either side. So the scar gets wider and at its worst, around 8 metres, it could be seen from the A591 at the approach to Windermere.

‘We use traditional methods and materials on the pathways for people to follow, and then landscape the area either side to try and dissuade them from stepping off the path.’

Mr Fox leads a team of four full-time staff and they have around 100 volunteers to call on. And the cheapest and quickest way to bring in the stone is by helicopter.

www.fixthefells.co.uk

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