New route for Yorkshire Three Peaks
Work is due to start this month on creating 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 Pen-y-Ghent 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.
An alternative route over Whitber Hill passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths, but it needs engineering.
With the landowners' agreement, it will be developed as an alternative route which walkers will be encouraged to use.
National Park Rangers and Dales Volunteers will link up two existing stone tracks which are both part of the Pennine Way National Trail to create the alternative route, which will include three sections of stepped stone flags and a small footbridge across Sell Gill.
Steve Hastie, Three Peaks Area Ranger, 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."
The Three Peaks challenge is an incredibly popular 24-mile walk over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.