In the summer of 2018 Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership appointed Conservefor to undertake improvements to the upland access routes climbing to the summit of Pendle Hill in Lancashire.

Pendle Hill is a popular walk attracting thousands of visitors every year. Due to the lack of a defined path and the exposed nature of the summit route combined with this heavy footfall, a wide area of erosion developed across the summit threatening the wildlife and peatland. The new trails would also provide a clear route off the hill in adverse weather conditions.

As a specialist upland access contractor, Conservefor deployed a team of experienced trail builders and expert plant operators using two 5 tonne Kubota excavators fitted with tilt-rotate attachments.

The project included the following works.

  • Improvements to the drainage on the existing stone pitched path
  • Installation of stone pitched water bars and resurfacing of the western trail
  • Creation of 1 km of new footpath connecting the summit to the existing footpaths
  • Construction of a 200 metre switch back section of trail to replace the heavily eroded steep climb from Pendleside Farm
  • Creation of a new 2 metre track surrounding the summit trig point to allow the installation of stone sculptures

Our team of highly experienced upland path builders began creating the new paths from the summit down. Using material sourced from the area next to the path. This construction technique eliminates the need to import construction materials and creates a ditch at the top side of the trail helping to divert water from the trail surface.

To further ensure the longevity of the trail surface, we deployed a small tracked stone crusher to crush the existing stone uncovered by the erosion at the summit. The crushed materail was used to top dress the subsoil path and compacted to provide a smooth waking surface.

Once the new trail was in place the plant operators then set about restoring the old erosion corridor. With the exposed stone already removed and crushed for the trail surface, the excavators were used to level and distribute the remaining soil. Once complete, lime was spread across the newly landscaped area followed by seed and fertiliser to promote re-vegetation and recovery of the summit area.

Pitched stone water bars were dug into the existing footpath, every 20 metres to provide additional drainage. The stone for these water bars was sourced from a recent scree fall adjacent to the trail, again eliminating the need to import materials.  The existing drains on the pitched stone path to the east of the hill were extended, by hand, by up to a metre.  The stone drains divert water away from the section of pitching immediately below reducing further erosion and improving safety during adverse weather conditions.