News from Leo Walmsley for March 2016

  • New path at High Cascades

    07:27 29 March 2016
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    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