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Work starts on new Three Peaks route
10:00am Tuesday 14th August 2012 in News
Work is due to start this month on the creation of an alternative section of the famous Three Peaks route in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Years of use by walkers has badly eroded a length of footpath running from Penyghent over Horton Moor and Black Dubb Moss to Ribblehead via High Birkwith.
The vegetation has been damaged and the topsoil has been washed away, causing significant damage to internationally-important peat habitat.
Now, with the landowners’ agreement, an alternative route is to be created over Whitber Hill, which passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths.
Last year, members of the public and readers of Trail magazine and Country Walking magazine were asked to select 10 winners from 66 international nominations to share a pot of cash being offered by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) – a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry that raises funds to put directly into conservation projects worldwide.
The Whitber bid, which was submitted by local charity the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust after discussions with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), recieved a 30,000 Euro grant.
National park rangers and Dales Volunteers will start work later this month to link up two existing stone tracks that are both part of the Pennine Way to create the alternative route, which will include three sections of stepped stone flags and a small footbridge across Sell Gill.
The YNDPA’s Three Peaks area ranger Steve Hastie, who is also the Three Peaks project manager, said: “Diverting walkers away from Black Dubb Moss will give the sensitive peatland habitats and the damaged vegetation time to recover.
“We’re currently finalising the logistics, with 650 tonnes of materials to move around, as well as various interesting items of machinery to dig, grab, lift and move people, earth and stone.
“There will also be a chance for Friends of the Three Peaks to get involved in some of the lighter landscaping work.
“Over the winter we will install waymarker posts and produce maps and publicity advocating the use of the new route, which should be ready for use next spring.
“It will mean that, for the first time, we will have a sustainable circuit for those wishing to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.”
Don Gamble, the YDMT’s projects development officer, said: “When EOCA invited the trust to submit a proposal, we felt that a project benefiting the Three Peaks would stand a good chance of being successful. We were delighted when we found out we’d won the public vote.
“This is a great example of organisations working in partnership to help protect and restore this special area and enhance visitors’ experience.”
The creation of the alternative route is part of the Three Peaks Project, which was launched by the national park authority in 2009.