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CONSERVATION REPAIRS IN CALES DALE

This is an archived press release

Monday 5 January 2004

5 January 2004

CONSERVATION REPAIRS IN CALES DALE

An ancient path in the Peak District is to be repaired thanks to a partnership between National Park Rangers, English Nature staff and conservation volunteers.

The footpath forms part of the Limestone Way through Cales Dale, near Monyash, and descends into the ancient woodland and flower-rich grasslands of Lathkill Dale and the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve. The area is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) - an international designation under the European Habitats Directive, which means it is of even higher conservation importance than being an SSSI alone.

The path is well used by visitors and local people but a 30 metre section was washed away by a dramatic landslip in the summer of 2002 damaging a pitched pathway which archaeologists believe is of great antiquity. The path was repaired last year, but the remains of the ancient track now need protecting.

Sarah Whiteley, National Park Authority archaeologist, said: "About seven hundred years ago One Ash and Cales Dale were part of a medieval grange or farm belonging to the monks of Roche Abbey, in South Yorkshire. It is possible that the damaged path was originally built during the medieval period so that workers from the grange could pass safely down to the river to water and wash their sheep."

The remains of the trackway are now unstable and archaeologists are keen to protect and retain what is left of this historic route. Lynn Burrow, Area Ranger, explained how the path is to be conserved. She said: "We're building a protective drystone 'shell' over the original foundations. The top layer of stone will represent the original level of the footpath that medieval workers may once have walked down."

Recently previous repair work has been undone by persons unknown. Lynn said: "We're carrying out repairs to a high standard to protect what's left of the archaeology. It may all look quite new for a while but the retaining dry stone walls will soon moss over and blend into the landscape restoring the wild and natural appearance of Cales Dale. We want the public to help us by avoiding disturbance to the stonework."

If you have any queries regarding this work or would like to help with the conservation repairs please contact: Ben Le Bas, Site Manager, at English Nature on 01629 816640 or Lynn Burrow, Area Ranger, at the Peak District National Park Authority on 01298 84992.

This is an archived press release

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