Winstone Lee Tor – Upland Footpath Construction

Conservefor’s specialist upland footpath construction team were appointed to undertake a full restoration of the footpath along Derwent Edge in the Peak district. The footpath passes through a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and trough an area rich in ancient archeology.

The Peak district has some of the best moorland walks in the UK and due to this the area receives an extremely high level of footfall. The Winstone Lee Tor footpath was badly eroded because of this and beginning encroach onto the surrounding moorland putting the sensitive moorland habitat at risk of destruction.

Conservefor have a wealth of habitat restoration and access experience and a considerate approach to construction on sites of special scientific interest. This enabled us to create a hard wearing footpath designed to last well into the future as well as minimizing impact caused by the construction project and incorporating techniques to allow the heavily eroded moorland to recover back to its natural state.

Our Specialist Moorland access team used bespoke 7 tonne excavators with low ground pressure tracks and power tilt attachments to create a 1.5 metre wide subsoil track with pitched stone climbs through steep areas, drainage ditches, stone water bars and stone fords at regular intervals creating a clear, well drained hard wearing path. All pitched stone features were installed by hand ensuring attention to detail is observed for every stone laid guaranteeing a long lasting stone feature.

Due to the remoteness of the location additional stone required for the construction was flown in by helicopter to eliminate any damage that could be caused moving the stone across the sensitive moorland. When working in remote areas robust safety procedures are in place to ensure the safety of staff. All staff carry a GPS tracking device with an emergency call function and are in contact with each other and the helicopter pilot by radio at all times.

As Derwent edge is an area rich in Archeology, our team worked closely with a team of archeologists and received regular training on the types of objects to look out for as well as any ancient markings on the exposed grit stone. When an object had been identified the surrounding area would be flagged and avoided until an inspection had been carried out by an archeologist. Once the go ahead was given our plant operators worked through the area carefully under the supervision of an archeologist.

Once the footpath upgrade was complete our specialist moorland plant operators began work re-profiling eroded moorland and pulling in vegetation to cover bare peat and preparing larger bare peat areas to be covered with chopped heather brash and a custom mix of seed specifically created for that moorland to promote heather and habitat re-generation.