Thursday, 8 September 2016

Continuing our work at Seldom Seen

Since our last blog post much of our time has been spent continuing the repair work on the path above the former mine workers cottages at Seldom Seen.

The photograph below shows a section of path that has started to erode quite badly. An old stone drain is at the bottom to allow a small beck to run across the path, but as the stone on the path above is very mobile this fills quickly with rubble. To stop further erosion and prevent the drain blocking up we decided that the best option was to pitch the whole section.

 Bags ready in place to start work

The stone drain was replaced and a new path was built.

 Repaired section of path

Directly above this section the path had really gullied out, you can see in the next picture just how high the bank has been cut away once the new path had been built.

 Path repaired before landscaping

One of the most important aspects of our job is trying to blend a new path in with the surrounding landscape. The following photo shows the same section of path once the bank has been graded. A large quantity of soil had to be removed (which was used for landscaping elsewhere) to create a more natural bank this was then turfed and seeded to help stabilise the bank and also speed up the vegetating process.

Newly landscaped path

The next section that we worked on had suffered a serious landslide which can be seen in the following photographs.

Starting work on another section

The new path includes much better drainage to help reduce the volume of water flowing down the path which should help reduce the chance of another washout.

Completed path

To help prevent the soil in the bank falling back onto the path when it rains the side of the path has been edged with large boulders which will be continued along this full section. We'll also spot turf the area and put down plenty of grass seed to try and stabilise it all.
Close-up of the landscaping on the bank

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

More footpath repairs on Gowbarrow

After a years break we have again recommenced our work up on Gowbarrow Fell. During the helicopter lifts we had a few extra bags of gravel flown to site and with help from the Fix the Fells volunteers we've started some more path improvements.

The photo below shows a section that we'd previously worked on but now, with hindsight, we've decided that part of the path was just too steep. If left this way the gravel would be unlikely to stay in place resulting in people walking off the path and causing damage to the vegetation.

 Old section of path

We decided to reroute the path to avoid the steepest area and thereby make it more sustainable. The first job was to remove gravel from the original path and dig off the turf where the new path would go.

 Removing the gravel

The line of the new path went through a deep ditch so much of the soil that was excavated was used to help fill it in. A trench was dug across the original path to drain water away, this also produced plenty of soil and helped form a barrier to discourage people from wandering up the old path.

 Preparing the new path

Once the new path had been levelled we covered the old path with the turf that had been dug off and gravelled the new path. In just a day the whole area had been transformed.

 Newly aligned path

On our next volunteer work party we tackled a section a little further down the path. This included lengthening and widening the path and removing a large depression in the path that had been formed by water runoff causing the the path to start washing away.

Turf was first removed from the upper side and the path was widened into the bank. Next, the lower side of the path was built up, using stone, soil and the turf that had been generated while digging out the bank.

 Starting work to remove the dip

Once the artificial bank on the lower side was completed the whole area was filled in with gravel to form a level path.

Newly levelled path

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Starting work at Seldom Seen

As usual, our upland footpath work season began with a few weeks of filling bags with material to be flown by helicopter to the work site. We filled around ninety bags with rock from scree opposite the path where we're working.

 Heli-Bags filled and ready to be flown

The bags were flown a few hundred metres across the valley and dropped around each of the areas that we'd identified to be repaired.

 Unloading the first bag

Many of the sections of path that we're repairing on Seldom Seen are only around a metre in length and will prevent the path from getting worse. The section below had started to wash out and then deteriorated further after the winter flooding.

 Short section of path to be repaired

To stop the path getting worse, we built a short section of pitching and a stone drain. This will allow the water to be shed away from the path rather than run down it. Soil excavated while building the path was put downhill to fill in some of the gully caused by the flow of water. You can see in the photo below that rock has been dug in further along the path on the right hand side, to direct walkers onto one line and prevent the path getting too wide.

 Finished section of path

Fixing the drainage on this path is one of the main aspects of the job, as water running down it is starting to cause problems, and the path has shown significant deterioration over the last few years.

 Building a new drain

Another section that has badly gullied out can be seen below. The original short section of pitching and drain isn't really up to the job.

 Gullied section of path before repair

For this section, we moved the drain about a metre downhill to the bottom of the pitched path. This drain is fed into by a small beck, which was realigned with the new drain. The path has also been extended through the gully and incorporates another drain at the top of the path to shed any water running down the path. There's still some landscaping work (grading banks, turfing and reseeding) to be done but it's a big improvement on what was there and will help prevent it getting any worse.

Pitched path through the gully

Friday, 13 May 2016

Preparing for the path repairs above Seldom Seen.

Since our last post we've been getting ready for another season of upland footpath repair. Our main project this year is on the path above Seldom Seen, in Ullswater.

As a bit of a change from our usual blog post style, here we've documented our work using just a series photos from our Instagram account.

We're still fairly new to Instagram, having only joined in August last year, but it's proving a really good way to share our photos and chat with people interested in our work. You don't have to be on Instagram to view our photos, you can just click on the link here to see them. If you are on Instagram though, feel free to give @NTCentralFells a follow and we love seeing your comments too.

 Carrying the heli-bags to site

 Filling the first bag

 Bag filling during one of many hail storms

 View down Glencoyne Beck, in better weather

 Filled bags ready to be flown

View down to Ullswater while walking back from the worksite

 Lifting in the bags of rock

 Helicopter in action

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

New path at High Cascades

It's been a while since our last update. In that time, amongst other things, we've had a few weeks off over Christmas, spent time clearing up and checking the full extent of damage after last winter's devastating storms, and also spent a lot of time working over at Aira Force.

Our work at Aira Force has involved re-routing a section of path near High Cascades. The original path involved clambering over bedrock and up some steep sections of stone pitched path. Not a problem for some, but for those less sure on their feet, it was an impassable barrier.

Some people had already found a way to avoid this bit of path by going "off piste" and over a fallen dry stone wall. We decided to use this route as a rough guide to where we'd put the new path.

The first job was to remove a section of the fallen wall to give us enough room to put in the new path and also to give us access with our power barrow. We removed the largest stones from the dismantled wall and side stones from the original path to edge our new path.

Taking down the wall

Completed section with wall repaired and side stones

To give us the best line, with least gradient and no stone steps, we decided to cut the path through the steepest bank to give us a steady incline .

Digging out and edging the steep middle section

Finished middle section

With the line of the new path decided, we worked out where rain would be most likely to flow onto the path. We decided to add two stone cross-drains, to remove water from the path, and three sections of pipe, to take water underneath the path. All the pipes were concealed with stone to hide them from view. Once the drainage was sorted, we started to gravel the path. We ensured that the steepest sections of path were graded out to make the path as easy to walk on us possible.

Shortly after finishing the lower drain

Concealed drain and original path (lower right) landscaped

At the top of the path the original line went down some stone pitching and through a gap in the drystone wall. We removed the pitching and used rock from the wall we'd taken down earlier to wall-up the gap. We put a drainage pipe under the new path and a small hole in the wall to take the water.

 Stone pitched path and wall gap

 Repaired wall and new path with drainage

As spring progresses and the plants spring back into life the whole area should quickly blend back in with it's surroundings and the old path should just fade away.

Looking down the lower section of path

Monday, 30 November 2015

Repairing revetment walls on the shore of Ullswater

Our most recently completed job was over at Ullswater, where we repaired a couple of sections of revetment wall next to the lake.

 Section of wall in need of repair

Both sections of wall required some very large rock as the lake can reach the walls during flooding events and using smaller stone would mean that the walls could easily be washed away.

 Corner in need of repair

While the lake was low we collected rock from the shoreline. Much of this was stone from the walls we needed to repair that had either fallen down or been pulled down by visitors to be used as stepping stones or seats.

 Collecting the rock

After a few days work we soon had the walls back up and looking tidy. We shovelled gravel off the beach to fill behind the back of the wall and landscaped the top to help encourage people to walk around the wall rather than clamber over it.

Repaired corner

As was always likely to happen, a couple of weeks after we finished work the heavy rain came, so we went and checked to see how the walls had stood up to it. The corner section was fine but the lake had risen up and got behind the longer section of wall and washed out much of the gravel from behind it. Pleasingly the wall itself was absolutely intact, so we collected some good-sized rock and filled in the gap behind the wall, which should offer the wall some more protection, then filled it in again with gravel. Hopefully this will be the last big flood of the year and there'll be some time for grass to grow behind the wall, which should provide it with extra protection.

Repaired wall

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Replacing the revetment at Cockshott Point

We've recently been replacing an old revetment at Cockshott Point on the banks of Windermere. It was put in place to protect the bank from washing away when the water level rises on the lake, especially after flash flooding. The original revetment was built back in the 1980's and was starting to look a bit worse for wear.

 The old revetment

Our first job was to remove the old revetment and salvage any useable stone. Some sections had also been cemented together so where possible we removed the rock from the cement.

 The old revetment stripped out

We brought in some new stone from a drystone wall that had been been dismantled and kept aside for future use. We also collected some rock from the edge of the lake that had obviously been pulled out of the revetment at some point.

 Digging in the first course

For the first course we dug in a deep line of stones as this would be the first line of defence against the rising lake and will help protect the rest of our work.

 Working our way up the bank

We then positioned some wooden rails to help us keep line as we worked up the bank. We progressed up the bank building one course on top of the other, similar to building a drystone wall.

 Progressing nicely

Once each section was completed we "leap-frogged" over each other to start work on another section.

Starting work on the next section

To improve access down to the shore we added a couple of low slate steps. Once all the work was finished we had a big clean up removing all the rubble and soil, and finally adding grass seed to the whole area.

The finished work

The work has taken a good few weeks to complete but it's a big improvement on what was there previously and should hopefully last much longer than the original work. You can see another example of the revetment we replaced at Cockshott Point in 2013 here... link