Friday, 5 August 2011

Replacing old pitching at Mickleden

A couple of weeks ago we made the decision to have a break from our work on Stickle Ghyll and move our attentions onto the Mickleden project.

The section we are working on is an area that had been previously pitched in the 1980s, when the path was very badly eroded. As the path was originally repaired before the use of helicopters for moving stone to site, all the rock would have been gathered by hand from the fellside. Due to this limitation, the stone used wasn't always ideal, meaning the resulting path was steep, straight and with numerous large steps, making it uncomfortable to walk down. This has led to people stepping off the path and walking alongside it, which has once again started to cause problems with erosion. As it is a common complaint, especially with some of the older paths, that the steps are too high, we decided to address the issue.

Pete levering a stone into position

Although the path had massively improved the damage being caused to the fell, we decided that we could now fly in a few extra bags of stone and make it more user-friendly. There are often constraints that mean steps need to be a little higher than would be desired, such as the gradient of the path and any underlying bedrock or boulders. So to take some of the gradient out we have decided to re-align the path and put in some bends, meaning the steps don't have to be quite so high.

 New pitching in place, with old path to the right

Where possible we are reusing sections of the original path and mixing it in with the new rock. We have saved all the turf that has been dug off and this will be used to landscape the old path, meaning it should blend in with it's surroundings much more quickly than if it was just seeded.

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