Horton Moor and the route over Black Dubb Moss from Pen-y-ghent

Horton Moor and the route over Black Dubb Moss from Pen-y-ghent

Future walkers on one of the country’s most challenging walks will be able to keep their feet dry thanks to a cash boost from the European outdoors industry.

An alternative route to the notorious bogs of Black Dubb Moss will be developed for walkers and runners on the Yorkshire Three Peaks route.

The moss, between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead, is one of the worst sections on the 39km (24-mile) route, but an alternative over Whitber Hill to the south will be developed with a €30,000 grant from the European Outdoor Conservation Association, a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry that raises funds to put directly into conservation projects worldwide.

A spokesperson for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “Much of the route is a sustainable walking surface catering for the high numbers of visitors.

“But, on the section between Pen-y-ghent and Ribblehead through High Birkwith, most walkers use a route over Horton Moor and Black Dubb Moss. The route has become badly eroded and the topsoil has been washed away, causing significant damage to internationally important peat habitat.

“An alternative, though little used, route over Whitber Hill passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths but needs some development work and, subject to the landowners’ agreement, it will also be developed as an alternative shorter route over Whitber Hill and walkers will be encouraged to use it.”

The grant was announced at the Friedrichshafen OutDoors show today, and is one of 10 made from successful bidders following an appeal to members of the public and readers of Trail and Country Walking magazines.

The bid was put together by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust with the national park authority.

YDMT projects development officer Don Gamble said: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear that we had won the funding.

“We knew we had a truly deserving project up our sleeves with the restoration and maintenance of part of the iconic Three Peaks route, but we have been blown away by the level of support our bid received in the public vote – thank you!

“It’s wonderful to know that the public love the Three Peaks as much as we do.  The work that the €30,000 grant will pay for will really make a difference to people’s enjoyment of the route.”

The national park authority’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.”

Tanya Bascombe, general manager of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, added: “We were very impressed by the Three Peaks bid submitted by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. The project sailed through the initial stages to become one of the four projects in the final UK public vote.

“We are confident that this €30,000 grant will make a huge difference to the future of this iconic and ever-popular route, and hope that generations to come will enjoy the benefits of the work we have made possible.”

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