They came, they worked, they learned and they ate cake! An amazing total of 163 volunteers descended on Coniston on Wednesday 15 October to take part in practical conservation tasks and learning activities during Friends of the Lake District's Coniston Fell Care Day.

Volunteers ranged from five year old tots from Coniston Primary school, through teenagers from John Ruskin School and Lakes College right the way through to active older retirees. Tasks included tree planting, rhododendron clearance and burning, path building, dry-stone walling, a guided walk up Coppermines Valley and a Sky Ride guided cycle around Coniston Water looking at landscape and water management issues. Three separate litter picks took place around the head of the lake, on the shores of Coniston reached by canoe and high up in the Coppermines valley. And if that wasn't enough, three path maintenance drain runs and a path repair work party took place on the high fells above Coniston led by Fix the Fells staff and volunteers.

The fantastic achievements of all the hard work put in by so many volunteers included: 46 bags of rubbish collected, 16km of paths on the high fells cleared and 10m of path repaired, around 30 sq m of rhododendron bashed, 30 oak trees planted and another 30 protected and 15m of dry stone wall under repair – and over 400 pieces of cake eaten to fuel volunteers through the day!

Ruth Kirk, Friends of the Lake District Fell Care Day Organiser said, "It was incredibly exciting to see so many volunteers arriving with so much enthusiasm for getting stuck into some hard graft to help care for the fells and surrounding landscape of the Coniston area. Our uplands are facing increasing pressures from climate change and the needs of tourism balanced with the needs to protect these surprisingly fragile landscapes. It's heartening to realise that so many people really do care and are willing to give up their time to make a real difference to a place that gives us all so much, including the water we drink, fuel, food, storage for carbon as well as somewhere for physical recreation and spiritual well-being."

Friends of the Lake District Fell Care Days are also a great example of partnership working in action with many organisations such as the National Trust and Lake District National Park giving their staff time free to lead many of the tasks.

Glenn Bailey, Assistant Ranger, National Trust, Coniston, said: "I was really impressed by the number of volunteers who came along and the huge amount of organisation that went into running the Fell Care Day. It was a great opportunity for us not only to get loads of work completed but to talk to volunteers about the wider picture of conservation issues and the huge amount of volunteering that goes on in the Lake District, not just with the National Trust, but with the many organisations who protect and conserve the landscape."

Friends of the Lake District's second Fell Care Day of the year will take place at Grasmere on Wednesday 26 November so if you feel inspired by the achievements at the Coniston Fell Care Day and would like to get involved, visit to see the full range of tasks available and to book your place. Or contact Ruth Kirk, [email protected]

View the Coniston Fell Care day facebook photo album.

See also more information on our Fell Care Days page.