Whinston Lee Tor
Update: July 2015
From July 20 work is set to resume on one of the Peak District’s most popular permissive paths.
Stretching along Derwent Edge, this 2,500 metre long path, on Moscar Moor, provides one of the Peak District’s most stunning upland viewpoints overlooking Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs.
Due to the popularity of this route this had led to extensive erosion along the path.
The work being undertaken is to protect and prevent further damage to the SSSI habitat by defining the path line and reducing its width. Bare peat restoration has also been undertaken to revegetate and protect against further erosion.
After taking a break for the bird breeding season contractors will be back on site to deliver the remaining 10 per cent of the work.
This next phase, running until the week commencing August 10, includes the construction of 200 metres of pathway.
The work will take place in a number of archaeological sensitive locations and here a variety of different techniques will be employed, tailored to take account of the individual characteristics of each location.
Recently completed surveys have been used to identify and schedule all remaining landscaping and water management works which will help the path integrate into the natural landscape. This includes re-siting stone that had been disturbed during construction.
The path construction works are due to be completed over the next few weeks. It is expected the final works on site, including some revegetation work, will take place in October.
The path has been designed to, over time, integrate further into the natural landscape as re-vegetation takes place and materials weather.
See below for more details of the scheme.
Update: June 2015
Extensive works to protect internationally important habitats and prevent erosion whilst continuing to provide access for walkers on one of the Peak District’s most popular permissive paths, have been taking place.
Work began in October to form a new surface of this permissive path on Moscar Moor, which stretches along Derwent Edge providing one of the Peak District’s most stunning upland viewpoints overlooking Ladybower Reservoir.
In total a 2,500 metre stretch will be formed using techniques such as stone pitching and substrate reversal (which creates a surface from material taken from the line of the path). This material will weather to the characteristic grey colour of millstone grits.
The photograph (above) illustrates the extent and width of path erosion and its impact on key moorland habitat and wildlife.
The path has been defined and the width reduced to minimise the impact on vegetation and wildlife and prevent further erosion to this vital habitat.
Almost 90% of the works proposed have been completed so far. Work has had to stop for the bird nesting season and will resume in July 2015, to complete the remaining 10% of works.
While the vast bulk of work has been completed, there is still work to do on most of the route in order to address landscaping and water management.
Surveys are being carried out later this month to look at what measures will be undertaken to improve the integration and naturalisation at these locations to manage and address concerns raised by the Moors for the Future Partnership team, Natural England and regular users of the path.
Matt Buckler, Conservation programme manager for Moors for the Future Partnership, said: “It’s unfortunate that work on the path had to stop, but obviously we did not want to be disturbing the important bird population during the bird breeding season.”
Over time the path will integrate into the natural landscape as re-vegetation takes place and materials weather.
Progress to date
These before and after images give an indication of the challenges faced in restoring and protecting the heavily eroded landscape.
Over the coming months vegetation re-growth will help the path blend into its surroundings.
What has the work involved?
At archaeological sensitive locations test pits were undertaken to survey for archaeological remains. Only once the 16 test pit investigations were completed was permission granted to carry out footpath works in those areas.
Due to the remote location of the footpath, some materials needed to be airlifted onto site by helicopter and the technique of substrate reversal was used, which uses material from the route itself.
At each stage of the process the various methods used to create the path, have been tailored to meet the specific challenges at different locations. At certain sites more extensive remedies had to be carried out to ensure water did not continue to collect on the path.
As with any work it takes time to bed in. The materials used on site have been carefully chosen to, over time, weather and integrate into the surrounding landscape.
These before and after, photographs (above) show the deep erosion of the peat encountered and how it has been halted by the restoration work.
Restoration work in numbers
To date there have been 347 airlifts taking materials onto site:
• 160 tonnes of Pitching Stone
• 90 tonnes of Aggregate Top Dressing
• 322 bags of Heather Brash (43 tonnes)
• 1.2 tonnes Granulated Lime
• 125kg Seed
The total weight of material that has been airlifted is 294.325 tonnes.
Once all the works have been completed the total distance of footpath that has been built will be 2472.39 metres.
In total the area of bare peat treated with brash, lime seed and fertilizer is 2.0608ha.
The photographs show how aggregate has been used to create an easily identifiable route.
The work on Whinston Lee Tor is part of a larger Private Lands Project in which increasing numbers of moorland owners and farmers are working together with Moors for the Future and Natural England to restore Sites of Special Scientific Interest to favourable condition.
Work is being managed by the Moors for the Future Partnership on behalf of the landowner with funding from Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship scheme.