Sunday, 13 March 2016

Footpath work and gulley blocking on Burnt Hill (Hayfield) - 13 March 2016

Today was our second workday of the year at Hayfield.  Eight of us met rangers Shane, Myles and Mark at 9:30 in the Sett Valley Trail car park then drove three miles up the A624 where we parked off road and made our way one mile east across the moor to Burnt Hill on the west side of Mill Hill.  The footpath alternated between stretches of flagstones and stretches of peat bog.

The Trust has engaged contractors to pave this footpath all the way to the summit of Mill Hill.  They cannot work between 1 April and the end of July because of nesting birds and the work is very much 'in progress'.  They had used a caterpillar-tracked excavator to cut a 1 metre wide path through the moor and the cut heather sods had been piled to either side.  Helicopters had been used to lift flagstones up to the moor.  Laying the flags is down to brute force using metal bars.

Today's jobs were to 1) in-fill gaps between the flagstones and the moor with offcuts of the sods, and 2) cut up and carry/drag surplus sods to nearby gulleys and bed them in to block the gulley/stabilise the peat.  We used a 'sillage cutter' to cut the sods.

Excavated footpath & flagstones
(between spades & flagstones)

The weather was the best of the year so far and the sun shone all day long.  Spring had arrived!  We enjoyed views south to Lantern Pike, Chinley Churn and Mount Famine and to the northeast a snow-dappled Bleaklow.

Panoramic photo of worksite from the east

We saw several walkers during the day, many making their way up Mill Hill then round to Harry Hut and back to where they started, and one group of mountain bikers who Shane in no uncertain terms turned back.  They should not have been riding on the path and had wilfully ignored the 'No Cycling' signs on the stile at the road.

Our thanks to Shane for organising a very enjoyable day.


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