Hardcore over Herdwicks

by David Murray on 22 October 2009

in Environment, Footpaths, Herdwick, sheep

I recently saw a website belonging to a road building company that bemoaned the usurping of the term hardcore by the porn industry when its traditional use was to describe the stone and other crushed aggregates that provide the base for roads and paths. I agree, and am going to avoid the modern sophisticated “aggregates” in favour of the older “hardcore”.

What has this to do with lakes and the Lake District?  Well, the Westmorland Gazette this week carries an interesting story about an innovative use of fleeces from the region’s Herdwick sheep. Apparently fleeces laid down over water-logged ground provide an excellent substrate over which to lay a layer of hardcore (or more poshly, “aggregate”) when making a path.

When you’re next walking the Lake District hills you might well be walking literally on the backs of the sheep. What a nice thought that when fleece prices are so low there’s an environmentally friendly alternative use, and apparently it’s not even just a modern innovation; our forefathers used to do similar things centuries ago.

For a fascinating read about the amazing Herdwick, the sheep breed that for centuries has survived the worst that the Lake District fell weather has been able to throw at them, see the recent book by Geoff Brown. Click on the image for more details.
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