Works to renew some 2,000 metres of well-loved paths at four major access points to Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park have been completed in time for the popular New Year walking season. 

In a major project managed by Moors for the Future Partnership, paths at Grindslow Knoll, Crowden Tower, Ringing Roger and The Nab have been enhanced to make walking easier and to restore the internationally important moorland habitat by reducing erosion caused by foot traffic and water.

Carried out as part of the Natural England Conservation Plans Project (NECPP), the initiative saw the airlifting by helicopter of over 200 tonnes of stone flags and pitching.  Flags have been laid over areas of deep peat and stone pitching adopted to ease the way over difficult steep sections, such as the ascent up Grindslow Knoll.

Crucial innovations include a range of long-term robust water management features, including drainage ditches, water bars and fords.  By introducing water bars and angling flagstones, water is diverted across and away from the paths.

Project manager Matt Scott-Campbell is delighted with the outcome: “It’s fitting that we’ve completed the project in 2012 – the year which saw the 80th anniversary of the Mass Trespass.  The improved footpaths will significantly enhance walkers’ access and enjoyment while protecting much loved landscape and wildlife.  We’ve introduced a whole range of solutions to help protect the moorland in the long term, while respecting the spectacular beauty of these locations which are part of the Dark Peak Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

The project was carried out with support from the National Trust and local landowner Tom Noel, who added: “When restoring these popular footpaths, it was vital to take account of the different ways in which the land is used.  The needs of the farming community had to be accommodated, as well as those of people accessing the moors for walking or grouse shooting. The significant improvements that have been made will ensure that a range of people can access the moors, while minimising the damage that has been such a serious problem in the past.”