A GROUP of volunteers who help to maintain and improve paths in the Lake District say they are keen to get back to work as soon as possible.

The UK-wide lockdown and social distancing restrictions imposed by the Government as it responds to coronavirus have stopped Fix the Fell rangers and volunteers from being able to work in the Lake District fells.

All path repair and maintenance works in the Lakeland fells have been temporarily suspended to ensure volunteers stay within statutory guidelines and minimise the risk to staff and volunteers.

They expect this to continue during the period of lockdown, which was announced by the UK Government on March 23.

Although the current restrictions permit one exercise each day, travelling to and visiting the fells is discouraged by emergency services.

Cumbria Constabulary tweeted yesterday: "We would like to thank everyone in Cumbria who is supporting the stay at home guidance to help fight Covid-19.

"We have seen a difference in the amount of people in areas like these.

"This won't be forever and areas like this will still be here to enjoy."

The fells group says the situation is changing rapidly and they are keeping in regular contact with rangers and volunteers to discuss developments and plan ahead.

They say they are developing new ways of working, including using video conferencing.

Joanne Backshall, Fix the Fells programme manager, said, “The whole Fix the Fells team is keen to get back to repairing the upland paths and landscape as soon as possible.

"It will be interesting to see whether lower numbers of people in the fells allows some paths to recover, or whether the lack of repair and maintenance by our rangers and volunteers results in increased damage. I suspect we will see both, depending on the location, as well as a huge increase in use when life returns to normal again.”

The group says they are "really grateful" to everyone who continues to support them in any way and they look forward to working with and for the community again in the fells in the future.