Some have you might have already seen these signs going up on Blacka in the past few days. So it seemed best to give a bit more detail on what is planned.
Blacka is a favourite spot for many Sheffield mountain Bikers and quite rightly so, it offers some fantastic riding right on the doorstep and some may say a couple of the best trails in the Peak. So it was with a little concern that we heard about the planned work. But fortunately the Councils Rights of Way team have involved us from early on and are starting to understand the importance of the terrain to the riders along with the fact that the more technical the ground, the lower the pace; which is beneficial for all! They are however duty bound to maintain the rights of way network to a reasonable level. The work is not going to obliterate the trail as we know it.
On Piper House Gate the plan is to patch several sections to reduce the depth of the gully (after this years rain, the gully has deepened beyond what was expected) as well as repairing damage on the bottom section and improving the drainage where the concrete drains currently are.Like last years work on Devils Elbow, we will be involved in improving the flow and naturalizing the bridleway once the work is done/
One thing that we have been asked to do is make sure that you can stay off the trail while the work is being done; particularly on a night!
So this is where the ROW team are at with the planned works
Piper House Bridleway @ Blacka Moor – We plan to fill in the deepest ruts and improve the drainage without changing those parts of the route that mountain bikers particularly enjoy and are still OK for horse riders
NE and SWT are all adamant that as little damage as possible will be caused, and that the appearance of the route and its surroundings will be changed as little as possible.
The contractor is well aware that this path is popular with mountain bikers in the evenings, but it would be really helpful on such narrow path if the public could keep off it during hours of darkness.
A part of the job you and I have not discussed is that to minimise the vehicle movements on the path (and therefore damage), machinery and stone will be brought in from both ends of the path. This will mean that the lower section of the route will certainly need tidying up afterwards. This is a previously engineered brick dust path with cut off drains made from angled concrete kerbstones, that was put in at 1.5m width. This has narrowed to less than 1m in places with weed encroachment from the sides. I am intending to restore this to a 1.5m wide crushed gritstone surface with bunds built over the top of the kerb stones from crushed grit to shed surface water on our way back out from the site.
I have certainly taken on board your view that wider paths encourage speed, but, as you know, horse riders would like to see widths of at least 3m on Bridleways, and 1.5m will narrow over the next growing season back to what you see now. If I only tidied it up back to a width of 1m, it would disappear completely in the undergrowth next summer and the path would, as it is now, be all but impassable for horse riders.
Lenny Hill Bridleway @ Blacka Moor – for clarity, this is the Bridleway that goes up the hill, alongside the drop into the Blacka Dyke, across the stepping stones from close to the bottom of the Devils Elbow and Piper House Bridleways.
We will be filling in the steps towards the bottom of the slope and covering over the clay areas that are almost constantly muddy with crushed gritstone. We will be widening the route back to its original width (about 2.2m) alongside the steep drop because of horse riders’ safety concerns and tidying up the surface with crushed gritstone. We will be taking out the old bridge/boardwalk, installing a culvert pipe under the path instead, and stoning up with crushed gritstone over the top
If you have any questions or queries you can pass them on via Ride Sheffield.