Fix the Fells Update November 2014
Fix the Fells are often contacted to help resolve footpath erosion problems elsewhere in the country. The wooded red sandstone escarpment of Alderley Edge, which is a National Trust property suffers from heavy erosion. Several staff from Fix the Fells were invited to the site to diccuss with the two rangers based there how to resolve to problem.
Alderley Edge reaches to 600 feet (160 metres) above the surrounding landscape, offering dramatic views over the Cheshire Plain to the Peak District attacting many visitors throughout the year.
The escarpment is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its geology. Alderley Edge has been a site of copper mining for many centuries. There is evidence to suggest that mining first took place there in the Bronze Age and in Roman times.
Views from Alderley Edge.
The highest point on the Edge was originally a Bronze Age burial mound. It was later used as a fire beacon site which would have been lit as a signal to warn of the imminent invasion.
During the site visit at the top of Storm Hill on Alderley Edge erosion issues were clearly evident. People wandering around the summit has caused large scale vegetation loss, this loss of ground cover and lack of drainage has contributed to large amounts of water cascading down the hill into a gully below. This has also undermined and de-stabilized very large boulders.
Gullies, loss of vegetation, destabilized large boulders.
‘Stitch in time’ work has been done to combat the erosion; however more permanent solution could be needed. This may involve improved drainage, introducing more vegetation and creating viewing areas away from the worse, eroded sections.
Tounge gill micro hydroelectric scheme near Grasmere produces electricity by harnessing the force of water from the gill to generate enough electricity to power 120 homes.
The project involved the construction of a small stone weir, 640 metres of buried plastic pipe and a stone turbine house. A small ‘intake chamber’ allows water to enter the pipe and be carried to the turbine building, where power is generated and pumped into the National Grid.
The micro hydroelectric scheme has minimal visual impact and is in keeping with its surroundings. Sound pollution has been addressed through its construction, as the 10-inch thick concrete, double sealed doors on the turbine house form a sound proof building.
New pitched path on Coast to coast route.
During the construction of the micro hydroelectric scheme tons of stone was excavated. This excess stone was donated to Fix the fells, after sorting the stone, 57 bags were flown to a section of the popular Coast to coast walking route. This section follows Tounge gill up from the micro hydroelectric scheme towards Fairfield. The stone has been used to build pitched paths, as landscape stone on the path edge and for building drains.
A side from upland footpath work Fix the fells volunteer’s have skills in other areas such as hedge laying. Volunteers hedge lay at various locations on the Property. This Winter Fencing, tree planting and hedge laying tasks are being carried out at Hoathwaite farm near Torver. This is part of a Higher Levels Stewardship (HLS) Scheme where continuing conservation is encouraged. Standard hedge laying rotation between 7-15 years promotes regeneration and supports a host of insects and birds and small mammals. Hedges also act as wildlife corridors which can help populate other areas.
Barry hedge laying away!
Caroline…. The end is nigh!
Fix the Fells contacted the Cumbrian branch of Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) to help build several Water smoots; a feature that enables water to flow through the wall. The work carried out by the DSWA is part of ongoing work along a stretch of path from Blea Tarn to Blea Moss in the Langdales.
George and his merry men!
You can always look at Bob to brighten up your day!
Along a section of this path water runs off the landscape straight onto the path and into a dry stone wall. At several locations along the wall that runs beside the path, water smoots are to be built; this will both protect the path from further erosion and the wall from potential collapse.
Suitable stone lintels were chosen from Moss Rigg Quarry. Being unable to carry these to site by hand they were transported from Blea tarn to site using a Power barrow. A fun job that took the best part of a day due to the distance on terrain involved.
Members of the DSWA and Fix the Fells staff worked together to build two Water smoots on the day, judge for yourself which looks the best!
Great view of the low sun and cloud formations from the Goats Water work party.
Finally a big thanks to all for your contribution and commitment to Fix the Fells!