Members of the Ramblers group present a cheque to Mike Rhodes, fourth from right

Members of the Ramblers group present a cheque to Mike Rhodes, fourth from right

Ramblers have donated £10,000 towards the improvement of a footpath leading to a Peak District hill with connections to a pioneering access campaigner.

The cash, part of a legacy to the walking group, will be used to repair the path on the Great Ridge, which culminates at Ward’s Piece, named after GHB Ward, founder of the Clarion Ramblers.

South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire area Ramblers donated the money to the Mend Our Mountains campaign for path improvements between Mam Tor and Lose Hill with its alternative name commemorating the early 20th century agitator for public access to the countryside.

The group’s vice-president Terry Howard said: “The Ramblers received a legacy and we thought it appropriate that part of the money should be invested in an area where it would benefit all walkers.

“The Great Ridge is an iconic route, loved by walkers, so it’s fitting that our donation will help to fund vital path repair work.

“There is extra significance in that the Great Ridge leads to Lose Hill, also known as Ward’s Piece, after George Herbert Bridges Ward, founder of the Clarion Ramblers which campaigned for public access to the moorland areas of the Dark Peak.”

GHB Ward was a trade unionist and leading activist in the Sheffield labour movement in the early 1900s. He formed the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers in 1900. It was named after The Clarion socialist newspaper and was recognised as the first working-class rambling club.

In 1907 Ward took part in an illegal trespass of Bleaklow, a forerunner to the 1932 mass trespass of Kinder Scout, which ultimately led to the formation of national parks. The Peak District national park was the first to be designated in April 1951.

In 1926, Ward founded the Sheffield and District Federation of the Ramblers Association and, in 1945, the association bought an area of Lose Hill, named it Ward’s Piece and gave it to their founder. Ward then presented it to the National Trust.

The Great Ridge, seen from Win Hill. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Great Ridge, seen from Win Hill. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Great Ridge project is part of the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign, involving all UK national parks.

As part of the campaign, the Peak District has fundraising targets of £140,000 for the Great Ridge and £70,000 for repairs to Cut Gate Bridleway on the Derwent moors.

Peak District national park chief executive Sarah Fowler said: “This amazingly generous donation from the South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire Area Ramblers has given our Great Ridge campaign a fantastic boost.

“The Great Ridge is one of the most popular walks in the Peak District National Park, combining both spectacle and accessibility. Every donation we receive helps to care for our national park for future generations.”

The Great Ridge runs above the Vale of Edale to the North and the Hope Valley to the South.

Peak District national park access and rights of way manager Mike Rhodes said: “This campaign 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, people will know that by doing so they are ensuring that the landscapes and habitats are protected for everyone to enjoy. This donation from the Ramblers really shows how much this means to them.”

The Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign is led by the British Mountaineering Council and aims to raise £1m to help repair upland paths in national parks.

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