Pathways Fund

For many years, our Pathways Fund has provided assisted holidays to those who could not otherwise afford one. Since 1998, the fund has helped to protect and improve the countryside where HF Holidays guests and members walk.  

We cannot thank you enough for your generous donations. 

Aims of the Pathways Fund

To preserve & protect the countryside

We aim to preserve the environment where our walks take place. And to do this we allocate grants and other funding to individuals, organisations, and groups for specific projects that can’t be readily funded elsewhere.  

A few examples include:

-  Putting up signposts, stiles, bridges, and way marks
-  Maintaining footpaths, walls, and hedges
-  Clearing ponds, removing trees, and planting
-  Providing equipment to mountain rescue teams 

If you receive a grant from us, we ask that you install a plaque at the site (or nearby) to recognise the contribution from the HF Holidays Pathways Fund. We also ask you to stock HF Holidays promotional material at a suitable location, for example a nearby visitor centre. We normally only allocate grants for projects within an area on one of our walks. 

To provide assisted holidays

We believe everyone has the right to enjoy the outdoors. With this in mind, we provide assisted holidays for people – and sometimes their families – who can’t afford a holiday due to difficult personal circumstances. 

We require a simple declaration, which must be supported by a HF Holidays member. If you are a member and know of an individual or family who would benefit from staying at one of our 16 characterful country houses located near the countryside or coastline, you can nominate them easily. Applicants can also make an offer of a partial contribution to the cost of the holiday if they feel able to do so. 

Sarah Davis, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive at HF Holidays, deals with all applications and correspondence to maintain complete confidentiality. Application forms as well as our terms and conditions are available by emailing Sarah directly  

Projects - 2023

£5,805 donation to The Lake District Foundation

Thanks to a £5805 contribution from our Pathways Fund, we are proud to announce completion of repairs to the popular N451 footpath between Skelgill Bank and Cat Bells – the favourite fell of our founder, TA Leonard, and home to a memorial plaque in his honour.

With our support, the Lake District Foundation’s Fix the Fells project has helped improve accessibility to this spectacular spot by resurfacing the walking route and protecting it from erosion and damage.

Fix the Fells is an initiative that aims to monitor, maintain, and repair the 350 paths that cover more than 400 miles in the UNESCO-listed Lake District National Park. Check out the before and after photos.

David Harrington
Catbells path repair

Renewed footpath supported by Pathways Fund - Bourton on the Water

Thanks to a £14,500 donation from the HF Holidays Pathways Fund, repairs to a much-loved Cotswolds footpath have now been completed. The well-trodden route between Bury Grange and Salmonsbury Camp is a popular dog walking spot for residents of Bourton-on-the-Water but had recently become almost impassable due to years of use and erosion.

The path also forms part of the North Cotswolds Diamond Way and features in several walks we offer from our Cotswolds country property, Harrington House.

In collaboration with Gloucestershire County Council, we’ve funded a full repair of the route and the former muddy track is now a smooth path that will help make the great outdoors easily accessible to all.

In recognition of the generous donations from our guests and members to the Pathways Fund, our logo is now proudly displayed by the finished works.

Check out the before and after pictures.

Renewed Footpath - Before
Renewed Footpath - After

Purchase of two Stihl brush cutters for clearing works in the Cotswolds

To improve the Cotswolds National Landscape, HF Holidays has purchased two Sithl brush cutters to clear the ground around existing worn paths and provide better access. The work will be undertaken by Cotswold Voluntary Wardens in the North Cotswolds. This will benefit all walkers, especially our larger holiday groups. We're delighted to partner with the North District Cotswold Wardens on this important project.

Stihl brush cutters
Stihl brush cutters

Assisted holiday to Cornwall

We are delighted to have recently hosted a family on their first HF Holidays adventure to Cornwall. The parent shared with us what an amazing holiday they had.  

“Being around other families meant I could allow my child to enjoy the group walk. The staff at Chy Morvah (our country house in St Ives) were fantastic and Wayne the manager went above and beyond to provide alternative food when my child didn’t like what was on offer. 

My son walked a lot with the walking leaders, asking lots of questions and I found the whole experience very rewarding. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this possible.” 

Holiday to Cornwall

HF Holidays supports Refugee Week 2023

On the last weekend of August, we hosted our very first assisted holiday in partnership with Fences & Frontiers – a charity that aims to make the UK a supportive and inspiring place for refugees and asylum seekers to live in and settle.

We welcomed 12 participants in the scheme and two of the charity’s volunteers to Abingworth Hall - our characterful country house in the South Downs. Coming from as far as El Salvador, Iran, and Kurdistan, the group enjoyed a three-day guided walking break with our HF Holidays Leader, Gill Holmes.

Gill said: “I was lucky enough to be leading at Abingworth last weekend with the first Fences and Frontiers group funded by the Pathways fund. The group had a great time and mixed well with the other guests.”

To date, the charity has been limited to offering breaks in London and the surrounding areas only. But our pilot partnership with Fences & Frontiers will now enable them to offer annual trips to some of the most beautiful parts of the British countryside. We’d like to thank everyone involved for making this weekend such a success.

Our second assisted holiday for Ukranian families

In early April we hosted our second assisted group holiday for families affected by the war in Ukraine. The Peveril of the Peak – our characterful country house in the Peak District – welcomed six Ukrainian families who enjoyed a three-night stay and a wonderful weekend of guided walking.

As always, we are very grateful to our guests for their generous donations to the Pathways Fund. A special thank you goes to HF Holidays Leader John Nolan for putting us in touch with Kath O’Hara – a facilitator who helped us reach out to families in need of a well-earned break.

Fix the Fort

Projects - 2022

Assisted holiday for Ukranian families

Following suggestions from HF Holidays Leaders and members, we hosted an assisted group holiday for Ukrainian guests. Six families enjoyed a three-night Guided Walking weekend in the Peak District.  

We are very grateful to our guests for their generous donations to the Pathways Fund, which enabled HF Holidays to host the families. A special thank you to HF Holidays Leader John Nolan for linking us with a facilitator to find the families. 

Fix the Fort

£10,000 donation towards a new project called Fix the Fort in Shropshire

In collaboration with our Field Advisors for Church Stretton, we received an application from the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to repair the eroded ramparts of Caer Caradoc hillfort in three places where it crossed public paths.

Caer Caradoc hillfort is the most iconic summit in the Shropshire Hills. Situated close to Church Stretton in the heart of the AONB, it’s a very popular walking destination. The restoration will add interest to several walks from Longmynd House as signature guided walks, tread lightly walks, family walks, and self-guided walks all have routes to this summit. What’s more, many visitors use the route and our association with the project provides great publicity.

The Pathways Fund has contributed £10,000 to the total project cost of £24,605 and supported a successful bid with the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. At the time of the application, they had raised approximately £3,800 in contributions from the public. Work commenced on this project on 10 October.


This work has now been completed.

Fix the Fort
Fix the Fort

£8,170 towards Feel Good breaks in partnership with The Family Holiday Charity

We're delighted to have hosted 11 Feel Good breaks at our country houses. 

Feel Good breaks are designed to reward ordinary families who couldn’t otherwise afford one with the gift of a break away in the great outdoors. Over 150 families from across the UK have enjoyed a weekend of guided walks following a referral from the Family Holiday Charity. 

In 2019 we hosted families on a Feel Good break in the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) and in 2022 we hosted a Feel Good break in the Peak District. 

Feel Good Breaks

£7,000 to support the Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

Mountain Rescue Teams (MRT) are staffed entirely by volunteers and funded by donations. Not only do these dedicated volunteers help rescue climbers and hill walkers who get into difficulty, but they also aid the police in searches for vulnerable missing people.

Brecon MRT is based near Nythfa House, our country house in the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog). With their current base no longer fit for purpose, they’ve been looking to raise £1.1 million to build a new HQ. We’re delighted that support from our HF Holidays Pathways Fund has enabled them to reach their fundraising goal. They hope to be in their new home by the end of 2023.

Brecon Mountain Rescue Team
Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

£2,750 to support Cornwall Search Dogs

We donated £2,755 to Cornwall Search Dogs from our Pathways Fund. The charity needed funding to carry out dog training and to purchase equipment for their rescues. 

The charity was set up in 2020 by five previous members of Mountain Rescue and Lowland Rescue teams. Two of the founders are also retired police dog handlers, giving them a wealth of experience in both search techniques and dog training. 

Jenny Pickles, Trustee from Cornwall Search Dogs, said “We are absolutely delighted to have received this generous grant. As a relatively new charity - set up during the national lockdown - fundraising has certainly had its challenges and so to be supported in this way means a huge amount to us”. 

£1,500 to Yorkshire path repair

The Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) recently improved a 16m-section of footpath near Winterburn reservoir by laying reclaimed millstone flags to form a sustainable, all-weather surface. 

Our Field Advisor, Linda Skelton, has been instrumental in bringing the repair to our attention. The path became almost impassable and it’s one we use on our Tread Lightly holidays and Signature Guided Walking holidays from Newfield Hall. The works wouldn’t have been possible without a donation from the fund. 

Projects - 2021

£5,000 to support Sarda (Search and Rescue Dogs Association)

HF Holidays recently approved a Pathways Fund application from the Search & Rescue Dogs Association Wales (SARDA Wales) for £5,000 to help fund key projects.  

SARDA Wales is a voluntary organisation that trains and uses dogs in search and rescue operations in mountain, rural, and urban settings covering North Wales Police and seven mountain rescue teams in North Wales (including Snowdonia National Park). Our country house, Dolserau Hall, falls within their area, too.  

SARDA Wales Chair Tim Sherlock commented that, “Like many other organisations, our usual fundraising activities over the last couple of years were largely curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the need for search dogs has remained throughout. We know that there are many equally deserving charities looking for funding and are particularly grateful that HF Holidays chose to support us”. 

Search and Rescue Dogs Association

£3,750 to support an IT upgrade for the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team

HF Holidays supported the Longtown Mountain Rescue team in Wales with a grant of £3,750 to cover the costs of a major IT upgrade at their base in Abergavenny. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and moving into a second winter meant they’re finding new ways to deliver training to their team of 55.  

The upgrade will mean small groups can meet safely while others can join remotely. Deputy Team Leader Marc Ashton and team member Ben visited Nythfa House and met HF Holidays House Manager Gemma to accept the donation.  

Marc said, “It’s been 15 years since we last invested in our training IT infrastructure, so this grant is a massive help to us. We have been unable to run our annual fundraising event for the last two years, so grants like this are a huge help to our charity who relies solely of public donations”. 

Search and Rescue Dogs Association

£7,000 to restore sections of The Costwolds Way

The Cotswold Way Association (CWA) – a charity that keeps a check on the upkeep of The Cotswold Way – identified a section of path around some gates that was in urgent need of repair and improvement.  

The HF Holidays Pathways Fund donated £7,000 to smooth and grade a two-metre-wide section of path around the gates. The aim was to allow access for everyone and to deter detours across the SSSI, which was being damaged as a result.  

HF Holidays Leader Sue Maizonnier said “I am delighted that the HF Holidays Pathways Fund has helped make a section of the Cotswold Way safer to walk and accessible to all, including users of all terrain mobility buggies. It was heart-warming to see how much easier access now is along this stretch”. 

Cotswold Way Restoration Project

£16,500 to fund replacement digital radio equipment for Aberdyfi Search & Rescue

The Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team is an emergency service staffed entirely by volunteers and funded entirely by charitable donations near our country house in Dolgellau, Snowdonia.  

The donation will help their vital search and rescue services. The money will be used to replace their existing analogue radio system with a digital one to improve communication quality and coverage over a wider area. 

Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team

£7,000 to support the Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

The BMRT is an emergency service staffed entirely by volunteers and funded by donations, local to Nythfa House - our country house in Brecon.  

The team rescues climbers and hill walkers who get into difficulty as well as assisting the police in searching for vulnerable missing persons in the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) National Park and beyond. The donation will help purchase essential safety equipment and clothing for team members including 60 safety helmets, waterproof trousers, and buoyancy aids. 

Brecon Mountain Rescue Team

£6,300 to support the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team is a group of volunteers operating close to our country house, Thorns Hall, in Sedbergh. The donation is to add an additional portable ECG monitor to their equipment, provide essential equipment including a titanium split basket stretcher, and pay for a CAA registration fee so the team can use and fly a drone as part of their rescue operation. 

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team

Projects - 2020

£20,000 towards the reconstruction of the Keswick and Threlkeld path in the Lake District

This was the largest donation ever made from Pathways Fund to one single project -a five-year multimillion plan spearheaded by The Lake District National Park Authority. Main funding was received from Highways England, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Lake District Foundation and supported by the local community, businesses, residents, visitors, and organisations.  

It aimed to rebuild a new section of the route to replace the track bed that was washed away during Storm Desmond, when floodwater from River Greta engulfed the trail and surrounding farmland. 

Keswick and Threlkeld Path
Keswick and Threlkeld Path

£15,000 to plant 1,500 trees in and around the Yorkshire Dales in partnership with Millenium Trust (YDMT)

The partnership with YDMT is the first step in HF Holidays strategy to drive sustainability and actively offset travel carbon emissions and promote sustainable tourism.  

The trees were planted to create a unique area in Ormsgill Woodland in Malhamdale, which is close to HF Holidays own country house, Newfield Hall. 

The Yorkshire Dales

£9,000 to improve the Great Ridge pathway near The Peveril of the Peak

In 2020 we supported the restoration works on the iconic Great Ridge in the heart of the Peak District, in partnership with the BMC and the Moors for the Future Partnership with a £9,000 donation. A plaque is displayed on a gate at the bottom of Back Tor.  

Great Ridge Pathway before restoration
Great Ridge Pathway after restoration

£9,000 to improve the safety of Smardale Gill Viaduct near Thorns Hall

This path features in our guided walking programme from Thorns Hall in Sedbergh, and Smardale Gill Viaduct is an important feature along the way. The fund provided £9,000 for safety improvements, including the provision of handrails at Smardale Gill Viaduct. A plaque and notice at the entrance to the viaduct commemorate the donation. 

Smardale Gill Viaduct
Smardale Gill Viaduct safety railing

Projects - 2019

Lake District - Funding towards the reconstruction of the Keswick and Threlkeld path that was destroyed

Scafell Pike, Lake District. Footpath repair on the most popular route - the Brown Tongue to Hollowstones path

Cader Idris, Snowdonia – helping fund the repair of the eroded Moelfryn and Mynydd Moel footpaths

Exmoor - Great Bradley Bridge – helping fund the construction of a new footbridge over the River Barle on the Two Moors Way

Lake District Fell Care Day – sponsorship of events where volunteers carry out important conservation work. This will be our third year of involvement

Snowdonia Slate Trail – footpath restoration work

Other projects

Awarded to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority for repairs to the Ingleborough Allotment footpath. 

For footpath improvement works to the Coast-to Coast path on Nine Standards Rig. 

Towards the replacement of two storm-damaged footbridges in the Newlands Valley in the Lake District. 

To the Fell Care Project in Eskdale, Lake District. 

To replace a flood-hit bridge at Sedbergh in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

Towards footpath repairs at Beech Copse at Godshill on the Isle of Wight. 

Towards the purchase of a new vehicle for Buxton Mountain Rescue Team. 

To the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team when its headquarters were devastated by a fire. 

For new boardwalk at Church Stretton following a request from Stretton Area Community Wildlife Group access team. 

To the Hyden Lane project, part of the South Downs Way, Mend Our Way appeal. 

To the Whernside (Bruntscar) Footpath Repair project. 

Mountain Rescue
Wall and Stile at Ingleborough
South Downs


Most donations to the Pathways Fund are from HF Holidays guests using the donation boxes at our 16 country houses. HF Holidays Leaders are encouraged to promote the Pathways Fund with many running competitions to raise substantial sums for it. Money is also received from bequests and other sources. Note that the Pathways Fund isn’t a registered charity. 

If you would like to make donation, please use the information provided here
Thank you.