Peak District: Protest is held over ‘eyesore’ repair work

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Users of a Peak District path have described repair work carried out by the council as ‘dangerous’ and an ‘eyesore’.

Mountain bikers and walkers have reacted furiously to the resurfacing work undertaken by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) on Chapel Gate byway at Rushup Edge, near Edale.

Cyclists held a protest picnic at the site where the work is being carried out at a cost to the authority of around £30,000.

Paul Richardson, chairman of the Peak District MTB, said: “It’s heavy handed and out of keeping with the landscape that both residents and visitors have come to love. The wild and worn nature of the trails is part of the adventure of getting out into the hills, riding and walking on a smooth and flat surface can be done in an urban park landscape.”

Many trail users have raised concerns about the potential environmental impact of the materials used, which they claim are ‘inappropriate’.

A council spokesman said: “We realise the Peak District National Park is an area which is close to many people’s hearts and they feel very passionately, as we do, about its protection and maintenance.

“The very nature of the park’s varied uses mean we’re never going to be able to please everyone with the work we do to maintain and repair its rights of way. Mountain bikers prefer challenging, rocker routes, whereas these might not be suitable for horse riders or walkers.

“Many areas of the path at Chapel Gate are in a serious state of deterioration. Work is needed to combat erosion, prevent further deterioration and make the route safe.

“Currently, many people are unable to use Chapel Gate because of the rocky ‘steps’ which have evolved due to damage over time. It’s also causing people to trespass onto neighbouring land because of its poor condition. Where we can we’ll keep features which appeal to mountain bikers.”

The spokesman added that contractors working on the site have been using gritstone, not limestone, which has been incorrectly reported.