Saturday, 8 April 2017

Path work at Hardcastle Crags on Sunday 9th April

Seven of us met at the Quarry car park at Hardcastle Crags, 2 having car-shared from Styal but the rest having travelled individually.
We met up with Natalie, the Academy Ranger, who was also meeting her Sunday volunteers.
Once everyone had arrived, we loaded our tools and rucksacs into the National Trust vehicle so we didn't have to carry them and walked to the start of the Easy Walk path, where we unloaded our tools.
Natalie showed us where the path had suffered damage by the rain washing the stone off, finding new easier routes to travel and forming mini-rivers as it went which, now dry, made the path very uneven and not an 'Easy Walk' path at all!
Our task was to unblock any drainage pipes that were full of sticks, leaves, soil etc; widen existing surface drains to enable a better flow of water and to level the path surface, creating new cross-drains, to improve the flow of surface runoff when it rained without damaging the path further.
It was a lovely day, in fact 'the hottest of the year so far', so we split into small groups of 2 or 3 people and worked at different places along the path, being mindful of passing visitors who were walking past.
Natalie was very enthusiastic about her work at Hardcastle Crags and was telling us about the wildflowers coming into bloom - Bluebells, Wood Anemones and Wood Sorrel. Also about the Northern Hairy Wood Ants that are prolific in the area. We saw many but were advised not to get too close, otherwise we may get a little nip!
We cleared the drain at the side of the path
It was a great day, we got lots done and, hopefully, when it next rains, the water will flow along the channels of drainage we've cleared, and not damage the path any further:-)
Group photo at the end of the day
Thanks to Natalie for providing most of the photo's.

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