Concerns continue over the path up to the waterfall. This is the response I received from the planning authority relating to the concerns I have been reporting around the restoration of the path.
“The NP Access Officer (Guy Keating) has been in on-going discussion with the Project Manager regarding the restoration of the footpath and has also been out on site. Whilst it is muddy at present, this is because it has only very recently been reinstated. Guy has experience of other ‘dug paths’ of similar ilk that have successfully stabilised and consolidated over time without the requirement for importing material. It has been agreed that monitoring path consolidation is the right approach for the Donich path at the moment – before any other options are considered. Guy recommends we monitor the path until the end of October. If problems with the path surface are still evident at that time then we will be discussing options with Hydroplan with a view to agreeing a solution. Guy has asked the Project Manager to erect notices at appropriate locations requesting the public to avoid using the path for a few weeks to contribute towards surface consolidation.
A ‘quick fix’ could be to import material to provide a capping surface or use soil stabilisation techniques, however, we want this path to look as natural as possible and so it is considered prudent to take on board Guy’s advice and experience in the first instance.
Guy is scheduled to visit the site again on 30 August.”
I will be going back to the authority to check that this doesn’t mean that they are intending just to leave nature to take its course from now on (which would be a flat contravention of statements made in the original planning documents). I have to say (again) that I am not an expert on path restoration, but that I have walked this route over 100 times and I do not believe that if it is left to its own devices that it will do anything other than collapse into the river. The sides of the path are already showing serious signs of erosion.