Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Building a stone ford at Low Hag Wood

Since the start of the new year we've spent much of our time carrying out flood prevention work at Low Hag Wood, Windermere. Low Hag Wood originally formed part of the gardens at St. Catherine's Estate. You can read more about the history of St. Catherine's here... Link

We have been making path improvements to help manage any flooding of Wynlass Beck such as that which occurred during Storm Desmond in 2015. During the storm there was so much water in the beck that it caused a large pipe, designed to take the beck under the path, to back up. The water was then pushed down the path and damaged fields, properties and the track-ways below.

The pipe before starting work

To prevent this occurring again it was decided that we'd build a stone ford that would take any excess flood water over the top of the pipe and back into the beck.

The first job was to select suitable rock from the surrounding woodland and collect it in our power barrow.

Unloading the first barrow load

Once we'd gathered enough rock to keep us going we began to construct the stone ford.

Ready to start the job

We used large rocks raised out of the ground to create the edge of the ford, using large stone meant there would be plenty of height difference between the the top of the ford and the pipe.

Checking the levels

After a few weeks we had gathered enough rock, and put them into position, to create the frame for our stone ford.

 The completed frame

With all the edging stones in place we started to fill in the sections leading out from the pipe. These were built at an incline to help prevent water flowing out and over the top of the ford.

 Building the middle section of the ford

Once the stones had been laid for the middle section the next job was to cover over the pipe. As this would take the full force of the water, and we'd had to use smaller stone to keep the extra height above the top of the pipe as low as possible, we used cement to prevent the stonework being damaged.

 Pipe before starting the stonework

The stone was built in courses following the line of the pipe,

Close-up of the concealed pipe

Once all the stonework was completed we filled all the gaps with soil to help everything blend in a little better.

 The finished pipe section

With the top of the ford being about knee-height above the original ground level we needed to form a ramp up to this new height. We again collected some large stones to form the edge of the ramp and started to fill in the ramp with surplus rock.

The first side completed

With both edges complete we covered over the rock with soil that we'd dug out during the work as it had a high proportion of gravel which compacted well to form a good surface.

The finished section of path

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