Walkers get into their stride on the Great Ridge during the Mend Our Mountains event in the Peak District

Walkers get into their stride on the Great Ridge during the Mend Our Mountains event in the Peak District

A group of walkers took to the Peak District hills to help kick off an ambitious appeal to raise £1m to improve some of Britain’s most popular paths.

Cash raised by the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign will be used to repair and maintain rights of way in some of Britain’s national parks.

The national park’s chief executive reminded the gathering at the launch of the campaign they were following pioneers who fought for its creation.

Sarah Fowler addressed members of the public at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, before more than 30 walkers set out along the Peak District’s Great Ridge to celebrate the official start of the British Mountaineering Council’s fundraiser.

Sarah Fowler: 'caring for landscapes'

Sarah Fowler: 'caring for landscapes'

Ms Fowler urged people to help protect special landscapes. She said: “This campaign is about connecting people to places and caring for landscapes.

“We are standing in the footprints of those who, decades ago, campaigned for national parks to be created. National parks and, importantly, the paths and routes we use tell the heritage stories of our nation. They are for all to enjoy together and, hopefully, inspire people to give back.”

In the Peak District National Park, £140,000 is needed to fund path repairs on the Great Ridge, between Mam Tor and Lose Hill, and a further £70,000 for a stretch of the Cut Gate bridleway – known as the Bog of Doom – on the Derwent moors.

One of the first major donors to the BMC’s campaign was outdoors brand Montane, which has pledged one per cent of the company’s website sales to Mend Our Mountains.

Montane head of marketing Terry Stephenson. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane head of marketing Terry Stephenson. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane’s head of marketing Terry Stephenson said: “We are pledging one per cent of our website sales to this worthy cause, hoping to improve and preserve these magnificent places for years to come.”

The first Mend Our Mountains appeal in 2016 raised more than £100,000 for footpath renovation. Organisers hope to bring in 10 times that amount with this year’s campaign.

Peak District national park access and rights of way manager Mike Rhodes said: “This is an opportunity for people who enjoy these popular paths to understand and contribute towards the costs of maintaining them.

“Popular paths become worn quickly and the weather can reduce a good path to a boggy mess very quickly. This can have impacts on the wider landscape and wildlife habitats. By helping towards the financial costs of maintenance, you are ensuring that the landscapes and habitats are protected for everyone to enjoy.”

More details are on the Mend Our Mountains website.

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