Cartmel fell Lightwood Road U5248


U5248 Lightfoot runs across Cartmel Fell from south to north for 1.3 km and is a delightful unsealed road that presents some beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The road rests under the responsibility of Cumbria County Council Highways, South Lakeland, (CCC). It starts at GR 414 883 and finishes at GR 408 892

At the northern end there is a privately owned house, Lightwood Cottage, where the unsealed road ends and becomes a sealed section of road accessing the C5048 road, (Fell Foot Brow). The southern end leaves the C5029 and begins a short steepish climb to level off near Shanty Beck, traversing the undulating hillside to Lightwood Cottage passing two gates.

The road is part of the Hierarchy of Trails Management Scheme, (HoTR) for unsealed roads in Cumbria. Details can be found on the Cumbria County Council website at the following LINK. It can be found on the A4 map North.

In January 2020, members of the Cumbria Trail Riders Fellowship, (CTRF), found an area of this unsealed road that had begun to collapse, this was due to the water that had started to overflow the blocked drainage lines. The water had also begun to collapse the main retaining wall at this point that kept the road in place.

This was reported to the Cumbria County Council South Lakeland Highways department. (CCC). Over the next month, CTRF members completed surveys of the road and found that all of the culverts along its 1300 metre length were blocked with both vegetation and other detritus which was severely compromising the integrity of the road surface in any adverse weather. Alongside this, material washing from the bridleway, (508017) that joined the road at GR414 883 was found to be washing away the road surface onto the C5029 below. The material had blocked all of the drains along that sealed road and was pooling at a dip in its length, escaping on its eastern side under another dry stone wall, which was eroding the ground beneath this wall.

CTRF consulted with CCC, both Highways and the Working Together team about the works required and its was recognised that if something wasn’t done, the road was likely to be closed to users if it collapsed. As this road is an Unclassified County Road, the responsibility for maintenance and repairs rests with CCC. It was recognised by all parties that as there is no allocated budget for maintenance or repairs on these types of roads, it was highly unlikely that CCC could affect the repair needed. At this point CTRF decided to try to help.

Using the new and developing relationship with the CCC Working Together team, whereby certified volunteer groups could make minor repairs to agreed areas, in this case, the unsealed road network, with direction and liaison from CCC officers. CTRF devised a repair plan and organised materials and volunteers for a weekend of maintenance works.

As the land rests within the Lake District National Park, (LDNPA), boundary, permissions were required from them and the land owner was consulted for his permission. Help was also sought from many other Cumbria based volunteer groups including the recreational vehicle user groups.

Covid interrupted plans for an earlier repair, but a weekend was organised for late July 2020 once Lockdown had slackened off. Below are the details of the works completed.


The main area of works was the collapsed retaining wall and the drainage system around this area, with some works completed on three more culverts heading south from the northern end. (See map image)

Volunteers met in two places for the project, meet 1 was at the northern end, (Lightfoot Cottage), with meet 2 at the premises of RR Stone Limited in Staveley, where drystone walling material had been donated by the owner and required transportation to site.

Work was spread over several areas due to the nature of the complex drainage lines found during these works, (see sketch)

Saturday Works Completed;

1.      Uphill of the drystone wall, overgrown shrubbery cleared, entrance to drainage line found, cleared and a catchment area built along with a small step to slow water flow into the drainage.

2.      Begin to rebuild retaining wall

3.      Establish line of culverts, entrances and outflows.

 4.      Take down collapsing drystone wall and dig out blocked culverts at GR410 889

 By the end of Day 1, we had moved the walling stone to site, rebuilt 70% of the missing retaining wall, established water flow back into the main drainage line, built the retaining wall and opened out a second culvert.

 Sunday Works Completed

1.      Retaining wall rebuilt to an agreed point

2.      Identified and re-stablished 5 culvert entrances, water now flowing through all 5 culverts, installed overflow drainage and second main culvert line, renewed an existing sump and left capping stones in place for later inspections and clearances.

3.      Open out two more culverts and improve water flow at GR410 888 & GR410 887

Works to be Completed

–        Remove collapsing soil from retaining wall and rebuild that section of wall

–        Remount capping stones to retaining wall parapet

–        Back fill with material behind retaining wall

–        Clear out remaining culverts and resume water flows

–        Build catchment areas and drystone entrance/exit points for each culvert


Materials were donated by the following parties:

–        RR Stone Limited: Drystone walling stone 110 ton @ £11.00 per ton – £1210.00

–        Kankku: Twinwall breathable drainage piping x 6m – £75.00

–        Cumbria TRF & other volunteers: Mileage costs – 365 miles @ 0.45p – £165.00

–        Works signage delivered by CCC: Unknown


Total Donated £1450.00


–        Cumbria Trail Riders Fellowship – (CTRF)

–        Green Lane Association – (GLASS)

–        Land Access and Recreation Association – (LARA)

–        Countryside Access for the Less Mobile – (CALM)

–        Cumbria Drystone Walling Association


Overall, a lot was achieved during this weekend with the volunteers. Many organisations came together to complete these works and help this road to continue to be a resource for the many recreational and other users.

During these works, the road remained open, (with works signage supplied by CCC), and whilst many users came into contact with the volunteers during the works, (including walkers, cyclists and vehicle users), there was no issues faced and the value of the volunteer efforts was recognised by all.

There remains much to do with regards to maintenance on this route. Due to the complexity of the culverts system found at the Lightwood end, other culverts were not cleared and so remain blocked at this time. This will require further work days which CTRF will organise for future dates.

Walling stone has been cached at each of the culverts to allow later works to carry on and the entrances and exits to be faced with drystone catchment points. Some extra stone was cached with a view to rebuilding some designated areas of the many drystone walls that abound this road, but as this remains the responsibility of the land owner, there is much debate as to whether to complete that aspect of the planned works.

One thing is clear, that the value of a program such as the ‘Working Together’ project is clear. There is a long way to go with regards to its set up from a volunteer’s point of view, yet the foundation is laid and just needs building upon now.

For the green road network in Cumbria, the general feeling amongst the users is that there is a dire need for a management process for the maintenance of these valuable assets, both from a recreational point of view and as a historical resource. A question often discussed is; Would there be an appetite and a value for all of the interested & responsible parties to get together with a view to setting up some sort of organisation to work with the Hierarchy of Trails program but with a focus on maintenance and repairs?

Cumbria TRF would like to thank the many parties involved in making this project happen, whilst there are still works to be completed, the major issue for the road has now been resolved with the hard efforts of some very willing volunteers, the positive management approach of CCC and its staff.

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