Work is due to start shortly on an alternative route for the Three Peaks walk in an effort to save peat land on the section from Penyghent 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 important peat habitat. The new section goes over Whitber Hill passes over drier ground and uses mainly existing paths. But it needs engineering and, with the landowners’ agreement, it will be developed as an alternative route that walkers will be encouraged to use. National Park Rangers and Dales Volunteers will link two existing stone tracks that are both part of the Pennine Way to create the alternative route, which will include three sections of stepped stone flags and a small footbridge across Sell Gill.
The YNDPA’s Three Peaks Area Ranger, Steve Hastie, who is also the Three Peaks Project manager, says: “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.”

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