Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2009

High-level path eroded by walkers

Helvellyn
The fragile wildlife on Helvellyn is being put at risk

One of the Lake District's most popular high-level paths is to be repaired after becoming eroded by walkers.

The work, on the rocky face leading from Striding Edge up to Helvellyn's summit, will also safeguard its fragile arctic alpine wildlife.

The ascent will not be closed but numbers on the route may be restricted during helicopter stone drops in April.

The path is one of the most popular in the Lake District, attracting tens of thousands of walkers a year.

The 10,000 work, due to begin on 20 April, is expected to last up to five weeks, but stone drops are only likely to take place on a few occasions.

Marshals will be on hand during those times.

The rare alpine mouse-ear has now disappeared altogether from the area to be restored
Richard Fox
Lake District Fix the Fells project

Richard Fox, of the Lake District Fix the Fells project, said that the path's popularity had led to significant ecological and safety problems.

"People see the steep headwall and look for less strenuous ways up to the summit," he said.

"New trails have been created. They might look easier but, in fact, lead to potentially dangerous areas of sheer rock face.

"Not only are people putting themselves at risk, they are threatening precious and endangered flora.

"The rare alpine mouse-ear has now disappeared altogether from the area to be restored."

He added that every effort was being made to keep disruption to a minimum.



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