North America Bridleway – an update

Along with last week’s site visit to Cut Gate, Moors for the Future also arranged a site visit for user groups and stakeholders to discuss their works on the North America bridleway.

To put this in context and clarify things;

The work on Cut Gate is what Ride Sheffield, Keeper of the Peak and Peak District MTB campaigned for and fundraised via the BMC Mend our Mountains Campaign. The project has been pulled together by Moors for the Future – who are a partnership associated with the Peak District National Park. Alongside the Mend our Mountains fundraiser, they juggled several projects and funding streams around in order to include their long-term plans for the North America bridleway. This is the trail from the right hand junction (as you head South to North) and is named after the now-ruined North America farm.

For both Cut Gate and North America, the contractor is Terra Firma, who have extensive experience in upland path maintenance and building. Having a contractor “on site” for Cut Gate means that it makes sense for the two projects to run alongside each other and have North America repairs at roughly the same time.

The Cut Gate project worked incredibly well for users and stakeholders working together, so we’re chuffed that Moors for the Future are involving us in discussions around the North America works too.

So, on to the plans:

North America has had plans in place for over a decade, but zero funding up until now. The track is badly eroded and has several sections where the track has widened significantly into the surrounding peat.

The plan is to reinstate the trail properly, excavating material on site to create a trail that will mostly be 1 to 1.5m wide, along with proper drainage to keep it in good nick. Not a super smooth polished surface, but a mixed rock size track that will vary and incorporate existing rocks and trail features. Terra Firma completed similar works on the Langsett end of the main Cut Gate track and are aiming for the same trail surface and idea. If you were to ride towards Langsett on the main Cut Gate track, then the section from the North America turn off onwards is similar to what the outcome will be.

In addition to this, there will be 2 sections with clapper bridge/stone pitched sections to allow the larger drain runs to cross the path properly – much like the work on Cut Gate.

Initially, the works will look quite intrusive and take time to settle in. The new surface will settle and bed in, with freeze/thaw cycles and use by bikes etc. Give it 12-18 months and we’ll have something much more in keeping with the rest of the route – hopefully meaning that more of us will use the North America track to loop round at the Langsett end.

Moors for the Future are aiming to have written plans and maps with us over the next few weeks, which will explain things better than I have here. We’ll share those as soon as we have them.

Timescale

The work on the track begins in October, ending in March before nesting bird season.

Volunteer trail days

Many of you have asked about helping out with work on Cut Gate in general – “when can I turn up with a spade?”

The main works will be carried out by the contractor and their machinery. There just isn’t the scope for volunteer help there.

While on site, we did notice plenty of blocked drains/channels that would be perfect for volunteer dig days. We’re thrashing out details on that and hope to have some ideas on dates for some work on that in the coming months. All help will be much appreciated!