It is estimated that over 12 million people visit the Lake District every year, and 10 million of these people use the National Park's footpaths.
The huge number of visitors means that the footpaths are put under a lot of strain and have been eroding for many years.
A number of factors can contribute to the erosion of footpaths, including:
- Levels of use
- Angle of slope
- Soli depth
- Soil type
- Proximity of facilities
- Type of activity undertaken
The Lake District National Park authority are looking into various techniques to help reverse the effect of erosion on popular paths. Some of these techniques include:
- Stone-pitching. This is a traditional method for surfacing the paths with stone. It uses larges, locally-sourced stones put into the ground to create small, irregular steps that blend into the surrounding landscape.
- Sheep fleecing. This is an old technique that rangers have revived in recent years. It is used in areas where the paths are boggy or peaty. Sheep fleeces are folded and rolled to create a 'floating path' that is then layered with stones to protect the peat but also allow water to drain more easily.