St Catherine's Hill, Winchester
Topped with the remains of an iron-age fort, this short walk just outside Winchester gives great views across the area.
More people are enjoying the Great British countryside, but this is having a knock on effect on the environment. The BMC need your help to mend Britain's mountains - and there's some great rewards on offer!
The footpaths of Britain are in dire need of restorative action. As more people experience the joy of the outdoors, thousands upon thousands of keen hill walkers are pounding the paths, crisscrossing their way across the countryside every year and it is starting to show. For example, in popular areas such as the Lake District, some of erosion scars from the constant wear have grown up to 30 metres in width; that's as wide as the M1 motorway!
The local park authorities no longer have the budget to support the expensive repairs, so the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), in partnership with Cotswold Outdoors, Alpkit and Steep Edge, are asking for your help to make a difference and mend Britain's mountains.
With the support of famous adventurers such as Chris Bonington, Doug Scott and our own OS #GetOutside champion Mary-Ann Ochota, the Mend our Mountains campaign is hoping to raise £100,000 to carry out much needed maintenance and repairs to preserve 8 different projects across our National Parks.
While we love seeing and hearing about the influx of people now participating in outdoor activities, we're also are aware of the need to preserve the key footpaths for future generations and the paramount safety of those walkers today. Re-building and maintaining mountain paths is a lengthy and expensive job, which requires specialist equipment and highly skilled labourers to do it. We believe that the outdoors should be enjoyable, accessible and, above all, safe for everyone who uses it and that's why we're encouraging all outdoor enthusiasts to get involved with donating towards the £100,000 total.
“It’s fantastic that so many of us are out there enjoying the uplands, but we can’t take something for granted. It’s not just about giving cash to charity, it’s about working together to look after the places we love for generations to come.”
This campaign is a crowdfunded – which means it's down to you, the lovers of the outdoors, to help save the beautiful British scenery and keep it open to the public. Donors can choose to donate to the overall campaign, or select their personal favourite from the eight projects. All donations will receive a thank you, and there are some incredible rewards up for grabs for backers if you pledge before 16 May 2016. These range from download offers, discounts and T-shirts to days out with Sir Chris Bonington, skills training with top instructors and even a helicopter ride! A full list of rewards can be found on the crowdfunder page.
That being said, no attention should be taken away from the fantastic cause this money is being donated to. Without the work the BMC is undertaking, the outdoors could become a very different experience. If we don’t protect these natural resources, it will only be a matter of time before they are lost altogether. Even adhering to the Countryside Code can make a significant difference to the upkeep and well-being of our wonderful National Parks. The BMC would love everyone to be involved, so if you feel passionately about walking or frequent the National Parks, please give what you can to support a wonderful campaign which will do no end of good for the preservation of Britain’s luscious green spaces.
We appreciate many of you may feel unable to donate a substantial amount of money towards the cause, but you can still help to do your bit to preserve the paths by taking greater care of the environment while out walking. It isn't just the pathways that take damage. Recently, we had to carry out some repair work on Ben Nevis due to damage from walkers around the trig pillar. Some of the greatest causes of damage to our paths are litter and traffic. If, for example, everyone takes the remains of their picnic home with them then the preservation work will be made significantly easier. And don't forget to consider The Countryside Code when you're out in Britain's open spaces.
Read more about the Mend Our Mountain's campaign
Read more from #GetOutside champion, Mary-Ann Ochota.