A footpath serving the Three Peaks has won cash for much needed repairs from an international fund, it was announced at last week's OutDoor show in Friedrichshaven, Germany. As a result a notorious morass on the popular challenge walk will be bypassed, and the damage restored.
Members of the public and readers of walking magazines were asked to select 10 winners from 66 international nominations to share a pot of cash being offered by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) – a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry that raises funds to put directly into conservation projects worldwide. One of the winning bids was made by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), working closely with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), with their proposal to help the Three Peaks area's fragile ecosystem by restoring a section of badly eroded footpath near Pen-y-ghent. The work, part of the Three Peaks Project, will receive will receive a grant of €30,000.
The Three Peaks route linking Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough is suffering from its own popularity, with the heavily used trails needing regular maintenance. One of the most damaged sections is the stretch between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead through High Birkwith over Horton Moor and Black Dubb Moss, which has become badly eroded, causing significant damage to internationally-important peat habitat.
Subject to the agreement of landowners an alternative drier route over Whitber Hill will now be developed instead.
The YNDPA's Ribblesdale Area Ranger Steve Hastie, who is also the Three Peaks Project Manager, said:
'This really is excellent news. It means we can put the missing link in to the circuit – so that walkers will be able to avoid the infamous Black Dubb Moss by using the new section – and we can put in place appropriate re-vegetation work to help the damaged land recover.'
'Once it's all finished we will for the first time have a sustainable circuit for those wishing to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge. But we would ask visitors to continue to think about how they use the area and the stresses and strains put on the local communities and environment.