Monday, 11 July 2011

Work Continues at Stickle Ghyll

Over the last few weeks we have been steadily working our way higher up Stickle Ghyll. The section that we are working on has proved to be extremely challenging, as much of the path has become so badly eroded all the soil has now gone and it's right down to the bedrock in many areas. Where the bedrock isn't actually showing it is often just below the ground, right where you want to build the new path! This makes it extra difficult to repair the path as it usually means that the bedrock has to be chipped out with either a crowbar, or sledge hammer, and the path has to be adapted to fit around any underlying rock.

Typical section of bedrock

The photograph above shows one such section. You can see the bedrock to the right of the photograph and if you look more closely you can see that it stretches right across the path too. What you can't see is that it is also about 30cm (or less) below the current level of the path.
Because of this underlying rock the left hand side of the path had to be built up with large boulders, so that the path could be properly tightened between them, and the bedrock that can be seen on the opposite side of the path. Without these large stones, the path would have just been sticking out of the ground, perched on the rock below, and would have quickly fallen out. In addition to this, even more care than usual was put into the selection of each pitching stone. As not only had the path to be suitable to walk on, it also had to fit around the bedrock underneath the path.

Section of completed path

Now this section of path is finished you'd never know the full extent of the bedrock. If the path had been left unrepaired it is likely to have eroded right down to the underlying rock and people would have tried to find an alternative route around it. This would have made the erosion damage much worse, and also made any future repair work even more difficult.

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