Derbyshire County Council. Utter those words in a local access forum and someone will shudder, cold chills will go round the room, and someone will call their therapist. Derbyshire’s efforts at Rushup Edge in the Peak District, have become something of an exemplar of how not to go about trail repairs – both in the sense of what you do on the ground, and how you go about consulting and working with local user groups.
Peak District MTB members have been valiantly attending Local Access Forums and responding to consultations in the hope of avoiding another Rushup Edge debacle, however today Peak District MTB is once again begging Derbyshire County Council to stop its ‘repair’ work on Pin Dale, plus other planned works in the area.
Following Local Access Forum meetings, Peak District MTB and other local users knew that repairs were planned, but thought that materials would be in keeping with the local environment – especially since the land is SSSI land and subject to Natural England supervision. You can decide for yourself how in keeping this is (pictures from Peak District MTB):
Update, 19th January!
A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said:
“We specified to the contractor that a limestone material be applied at the Pin Dale site and this was agreed with the Peak Park and the Peak District Local Access Forum. Following this issue being raised with us we have spoken to the contractor who has explained that they had to fill some deep ruts during the work and they are due to finish overlaying the path tomorrow with a pure limestone material.”
If you see the finished result, we’d love to see how well all this rubble is covered up. And if you’re riding there in future, we’ll be very curious to see how well hidden the rubble stays beneath the limestone we’re told is going to cover it.
Another update, 19th January, a bit later in the day…
A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said:
“Before work started we consulted and agreed with the Peak Park, Natural England and Historic England that a specific locally-sourced limestone would be used on the site.
“However, due to site conditions it was considered, with good intentions, that a recycled material would be better to form a good foundation, with a further layer of the locally-sourced limestone on top to complete the job.
“Following the concerns raised about the recycled material not being appropriate we are now looking at removing it and replacing it fully with locally sourced limestone, as was the original intention.
“We have halted work on site while we liaise with stakeholders about our proposal to remove the recycled material and will re-start work as soon as this plan has been agreed.”
Hopefully this is the start of a proper repair, and perhaps some more careful specification of works for contractors working in these sensitive areas. Well done everyone who sounded the alarm!
Original story continues…
Peak District MTB says:
“Alarming work on Pin Dale by Derbyshire County Council
As we previously reported , Derbyshire County Council have planned maintenance work on multiple Peak District trails this winter and provided an indication of the nature of the work based their site visits with Peak District Local Access Forum (LAF), though further details from DCC were not forthcoming.
Extremely concerning work has now been done on the Pin Dale path near Hope, which seems to be significantly at odds with the original understanding of the work as using “locally sourced limestone hydraulically bound to suit the surrounding landscape”. Rather, the material appears to be a mix of tarmac road planing and general rubble from a brownfield site (though we are unsure if it is still being locally sourced).
We find it very odd that Natural England, Peak District National Park Authority and the LAF would have approved this material for use in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a protective designation which covers all of the Pin Dale site.
We understand similar works are about to begin at Cave Dale on the doorstep of the picturesque and popular tourist village of Castleton, which also a SSSI and unique limestone landscape.
Given the huge discrepancy between the planned work, that was apparently agreed and approved, and what has occurred on the ground. And given what is at stake: We hereby call on Derbyshire County Council to halt all further work on the ground to prevent further irreparable damage to paths in the Peak District’s protected landscapes. Until, and so that, the contractors’ work on the ground can be fully investigated and appraised, in conjunction with the relevant and properly qualified bodies, i.e. Natural England (responsible for SSSIs), Peak District National Park Authority and the Local Access Forum.”
What can you do?
You can write to Derbyshire County Council, any of its councillors, councillors on the Local Access Forum, or MPs for the area explaining why you think this work is inappropriate and should be halted.
Here’s a video showing how it used to be:
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