Path repairs to protect Black Down

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Path repairs to protect Black Down archaeology and heathland

Black Down path 17.09 (7)smWork is underway to repair a badly eroded path and prevent damage to valuable archaeology and heathland on Black Down in the heart of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The route approaching the Beacon Batch trig point (the highest point in the Mendip Hills AONB) is heavily eroded due to a combination of peaty soil, heavy rain and increased pressure from recreational use (walkers, cyclists and horse riders).  This has resulted in the formation of an eroded gully that is now 1 metre deep in places and getting worse year on year.  The gully has become so deep the path sides are collapsing resulting in damage to World War II tumps and a Bronze Age barrow that are key features of the site’s Scheduled Monument.  The poor condition of this route has also resulted in erosion of the valuable heathland habitat alongside the gully.

The Mendip Hills AONB Unit has secured grants of £56,000 from Historic England and Natural England who have both approved the path construction and erosion repair work to a 590 metre section of route.

The first stage of work is importing limestone using dumper trucks to fill the gully to bring it back up to the surrounding ground level and provide a solid base for the path.  Stone is being delivered along existing tracks to avoid damaging the heathland; these routes will be levelled and returned to their original condition on completion of works.  Following this, the path will be top-dressed with sandstone to match the geology and character of the site.  The result will be a surface that will provide durable access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders while safeguarding the rich archaeology and wildlife of the site.

The work has been authorised by Historic England in accordance with the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

For more information on this project go to Our Work