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