Path Improvements at Hawley Meadows

This week Jenny and I have been catching up with the contractors who are working at Hawley Meadows. This exciting project sees a surfaced path created from the north to the south, which tackles the common historic problem of muddy wintery paths on the floodplain. The paths mainly follow the route of the Blackwater Valley Path, which provides year round access on our own long-distance path.

There is a small diversion at the north end of the site around the wettest area, since following the river would mean we would have had to raise up the path in excess of that allowed for our Environment Agency flood consent. The improved Hawley Meadows Path Network, joins up with new pedestrian crossing and cycleway along the A331 (Blackwater Valley Road). Together they form the Better Connectivity Project which aims to encourage sustainable transport, such and cycling and walking, by opening up new routes along the Blackwater Valley.

The contractors have been hard at work completing most of the north half of Hawley Meadows. First the paths are excavated and wooden shuttering fixed in place. Then material is forded over the river to lay the sub-base. It’s great to see that the levelled spoil at the north end has already grown into new meadow. When all the paths are prepared, fibre-deck will be sprayed as a top dressing to provide a hard-wearing surface.

Freshly excavated path with shuttering

Path base laid and meadow regrowth

Fording the river to transport path material

I was out today with our large tractor mowing alternative paths that visitors can use whilst the works take place.

Mowing alternative path in the rain

It’s great to hear all the positive comments from visitors. A huge thank you is due to my predecessor Andrew Price, who’s hard work over the last 3 years has laid the vital foundation for this project. It’s fantastic to see that it’s finally taking shape.

Acting Senior Ranger Stuart

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About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
This entry was posted in Hawley Meadow, Path, River and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Path Improvements at Hawley Meadows

  1. Louise says:

    What has happened, the contractors have abandoned the site, leaving the path in a dangerous state.

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