Wednesday, 15 September 2021

CRAGG VALE - River Path and Broad Head and Green Bank

There were three teams out today.

Team 1: On the river path

Paul and Frank S first of all helped carry two planks up the hill for Ray and Frank H to install as a revetment (more later). Then we returned to the river path where, on Monday, we were working on the fallen fence. The job was to tension the wires and complete the drainage works. Although the picture below looks much as it did on Monday, the fence is now pulled tight and stapled onto each of the new posts.

The difficult part of a wire fence is always the last post that pulls the wires tight. As this job aimed to improve the footpath rather than to improve the fence, we tethered the last post with an unconventional method - a tensioning wire anchored to the fallen tree trunk.

We then moved upstream to Spa Bridge where the finger post had fallen over quite a long time ago. Here's the work half-done with a spade in the new hole and the rotten end of the post being cut off.

Just below the newly replanted finger post is a set of steps and this is the view after we replaced one step. We then ran out of time, and so we'll be back next week to finish off with two further steps.

Team 2: Broad Head

Ray and Frank H started the day with a heavy carry uphill of tools and materials. Fortunately they were helped by two eager Sherpas - Paul and Frank S - who shouldered the revetment rails. Thanks guys.

The steep uphill climb raised a sweat that a very hot day combined with an energetic task did nothing to reduce. Here's the problem.

This is the public footpath (there's a clue in the name) that runs across the hillside just beyond Broad Head. The narrow path has collapsed down the steep banking.

The improvement work entailed:
*cutting back overhanging bracken
*digging and levelling to make the path wider
*re-aligning an existing short section of revetment
*installing two further lengths of revetment 
*banking and landscaping

Here's how the work progressed:

Mid-day: path widened and
revetment temporarily in place.
End of the session: A wider, safer and stabilised path.

This is a popular path especially at weekends. Surprisingly, today, we saw no walkers but a mountain biker did manage to come down the path, knock over a rucksack, skid into some of the freshly banked landscaping and express a view that he was within his rights to ride on footpaths 'because nobody had been prosecuted.' 
Other sections of this path are narrow, somewhat fragile of surface and exposed on the downhill side - robust and safe enough for footfall but not for more cavalier activities!

Team 3: Steps down from Green Bank

The steps down from Green Bank towards the river had been reported to be in bad condition so Eleanor, Billie and Ian V set out to try to remedy the situation.  The first task was to actually find the steps beneath the undergrowth.

Well hidden steps

Eleanor starts the clearing

Some steps were still serviceable and just needed clearing ..

.... but others had rotted away over the years

Two steps replaced ...
...and three more further down the hill

Some stone steps further down were also cleared but there is more to do. We think at least two more work parties will be required to complete the work and make this well used path much safer.

Today's work was supported by the Hebden Royd Mayor's Fund.

Monday, 13 September 2021

CRAGG VALE - River path

Two teams were out today working on the river path up Cragg Brook from Dauber Bridge to Clough Foot Bridge. Ian S and Nick set out to add three or four new steps to the bottom of the flight that leads down to the footbridge across Parrock Clough. This gets very slippery in wet weather and improvements were overdue. 

They knew that there was a huge tree alongside the steps that had fallen about a year ago, but when they arrived they could find neither steps nor footbridge! In the last week or so, a huge branch had fallen off a nearby beech tree onto the top of the steps and covered them up. Here's the view from the footbridge looking towards the steps.

So there was a quick change of plan. They returned to the depot, collected bow saws and loppers, and started to clear the path. After a lot of hard work the same view looked like this, where the old steps can just be seen coming down diagonally from the top left.

The path is now open again and several walkers came through to prove it. Unfortunately, the job isn't quite complete as the main branch is just too big for a bow saw. For the moment walkers will have to duck under this branch to get to the top of the steps. 

We now need to get some help from a skilled tree surgeon to safely remove the rest of this huge branch - hopefully without further damage to the existing steps.

Meanwhile Paul and Frank S were working 100 yards further up the path. A long time ago a tree had fallen and knocked the fence down on to the path. This meant people were forced to walk in the mud! Here's a photo from last year when it was particularly muddy

The first job was to remove all the brambles and holly that was entwined in the wire fence, and then to get the fence upright again. This is what it looked like with two temporary props and two new posts installed. Paul is just sitting down for lunch!

And this is how we left it at the end of the day. There are eight new posts holding up the fence, but the wire isn't yet tensioned and stapled. We plan to return later in the week to complete the job.

The path is now much improved and there's no longer any need to walk in the mud. After Ian and Nick had finished their earlier work on a fallen tree, they came to help and stabilised the muddiest patch with a drain and some elegant stone paving.

This work was funded by the Hebden Royd Mayor's Fund.

Friday, 10 September 2021

TODMORDEN Cranberry Dam

Cranberry Dam 


A new marker post was installed at a path junction on the Todmorden Centenary Way near the SW corner of Cranberry Dam

X marks position for post

Preparing for post


Post complete 


Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Todmorden (East Lee Lane)

Rich J and Fred G finished clearing the lanes around Mount Pleasant. Funded by Todmorden Town Council.



 Ray and Rich sorted out some posts that had rotted and were lying on the ground.

A bit shorter than before . . .  but better than lying on the ground under a holly bush!

'Leaning against an adjacent tree' versus 'in the ground pointing in the right directions'

This one appeared to be OK, until you looked at the back and discovered a lot of mushrooms! However, it should last a bit longer

We then went to inspect the path going up to Lower Rawtonstall (yellow on the map).

Following some near misses, Blackshaw Parish Council have convened a group to look at how to make existing mountain bike routes safer for pedestrians. CROWS contribution to this initiative is to inspect a number of local routes on the Strava app, see where the risk points are and identify what can be done to reduce the risk. From this exercise, CROWS will develop a working system for future inspections.

Today we were looking at The Bearded Lady which runs off the track to Lower Rawtonstall, down through Turret Woods.

The main problem was that there were several blind corners caused by overgrown vegetation. We were able to eliminate all of these except the forest of Himalayan Balsam towards the top of the path.

Ray doing visibility tests down the route

Route now much more visible, so fewer surprises for walkers and bikers alike

This work was funded by Blackshaw Parish Council.