The Sandyford Brook Restoration Project is now underway as we look to enhance this important access track and river crossing point for visitor enjoyment and protection of wildlife.
We need to allow the surrounding surface of the track, which has become excessively trodden and eroded by weathering and heavy use, to naturally recover. We intend to achieve a big reduction in impact to ecological habitat by allowing users to stick to a resilient single track, rather than having to spread out to pass wet or slippy areas in poor conditions. There are additional benefits in preventing uncontrolled erosion damage to an area of the Scheduled Monument through which the track passes.
When looking at the priority areas for works this location was identified to be in most urgent need of attention to prevent further degradation. We are looking to achieve this by narrowing and reinforcing the track with stone pitching - a type of traditional stone-stepped surface that is more pleasant to use. We are also replacing the timber bridge which has reached the end of its useful life, with a stone clapper bridge. This permanent structure shall have reduced maintenance requirements and be more appropriate in its special Moorland setting. We are also reducing the length and height of the crossing to increase visitor safety and further allow it to sit softer in the landscape.
The bulk of the work will be carried out by our Warden team, who are experienced in working sympathetically in sensitive areas of Moorland. In addition, following consultation with the Peak District National Park Authority, National Trust and RSPB archaeologists, we are undertaking all excavation work under watch of specialists for protection of the Scheduled Monument.
To prevent disruption to visitors we are maintaining an accessible route between Curbar Gap car park and White Edge, by way of a temporary alternate access into the adjacent fields. This is also a separate project to provide a cattle gathering point outside of the more sensitive areas of the surrounding Moorland. People will then be able to re-join the track above the area works are being undertaken. At times there may be an increase in staff vehicle movements to the site from the car park but there will be signed and taped-off areas to warn of site hazards.
Photos below capture some of the decline in condition over the last year, as well as concept visual impression of what we would like to achieve over the coming years as the track blends into the landscape and vegetation recovers.