8 November 2013

Building a path to recovery

How much can be achieved in two days? Well, if you have a big gang of hard working and willing volunteers – quite a lot!
The narrow path at the start of the work
 Shardale are a residential rehabilitation centre for people recovering from alcohol abuse problems. Staying at High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre for a week they helped us to refresh two sections of the path that runs from near where the ferry comes across from Bowness to Hilltop, the home of Beatrix Potter. It’s a popular path and is the main access route used by visitors to Hilltop who come on foot, but over the years had become quite overgrown and narrow. So, as part of the Windermere Reflections project we were digging back the edges and laying a fresh coating of gravel to return the path to it’s original width and glory.

A load of gravel arrives at the Hilltop path ....

... and the Ferry Hill path.
 And what a difference this has made! We were really impressed with the dedication, organisation and determination of Shardale and are very pleased with the progress on the path. It wasn't an easy job either - the digging out of the sides was difficult and generated an awful lot of turf and mud that then needed transporting to a position where we could load it onto a trailer and take it away. Then there was loading the various barrows with the gravel and getting that to the path to lay it down. Lots of walking, digging and lifting but despite many of the group finding the work quite tough everyone pulled their weight and carried on working right up until the last minute, a great effort.

Feel the burn! One of many barrow loads of turf moved up the hill.
Loading the trailer with turf and mud.
 It was a pleasure working with everyone and while we haven’t quite got the whole path finished the vast majority of it is done. More importantly, it’s done to a good standard so the next volunteer group we work on it with will have a good example of what we’re aiming for ….

So if you’re in the area, or taking a walk to Hilltop yourself be sure to look down at the path under your feet. Sometimes it’s easy to take them for granted, but spare a thought for all the hard work that has gone into making both your and many other walkers’ progress that little bit easier!

The Hilltop path team ....

Ferry Hill team one ....

Ferry Hill team two.

 By Rob Clarke, Basecamp community ranger