Thanks to a magic combination of accessibility and spectacle, the Peak District’s Great Ridge is officially one of the most popular and well-trodden hill walks in Britain. But those numbers are taking their toll on the fragile path along its length.
A staggering 20 million people live within an hour’s drive of the Peak District, and it is easily accessible from major cities like Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham. So it is unsurprising that it receives some of the highest visitor numbers of any park in the UK, indeed the world – according to a Cambridge University study, it is the third most-visited natural space on the whole planet.
Many of these visitors come to the Peak District to walk and enjoy its beautiful landscape. The stunning Great Ridge, which connects Mam Tor and Lose Hill, has the magic combination of spectacle and accessibility which makes it a particularly popular destination for strollers, ramblers and runners.
In a recent list compiled by Ordnance Survey of the 20 most popular walking routes created with its mapping software, the Great Ridge featured twice, and its neighbouring valley Edale six times. By any measure it is one of the most popular walking destinations in Britain.
WATCH: Mend the Peak District on BMCTV
When you take the impact of all those feet and add in the force of wind, rain and snow the result is inevitable – an eroded landscape where fragile vegetation and exposed soil gets washed away.
Over the years the path has been resurfaced along sections of the Great Ridge, but managing the impact of so many people is an ongoing challenge and large sections of path remain unfinished. In such a remote and sensitive location path repair is an expensive business, requiring specialist techniques and the use of helicopters to get the materials to site.
We need your help to repair this iconic route so future generations can continue to enjoy it. We want to build support for the Peak District’s access and conservation work and inspire people to care for these paths.
The Peak District National Park’s slogan is “Started by You. Supported by You.” It is Britain’s Original National Park, designated in 1951 following decades of campaigning. Many of the people who live, work and play here are still just as passionate about the place today. Are you?
Donate today and protect the Great Ridge for the future.
Donate here to help us raise £140,000 for the Great Ridge. You can make a donation of any size – choose ‘Donate what you want’ – or select one of the other amounts. If you want to donate directly to the National Appeal, you can do so here.
All online donations are currently via PayPal – if you would prefer not to use this method or would like to make a large donation (£500~), please contact the team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. All money raised goes via the BMC’s charity, the Access and Conservation Trust.