Footpath restoration work at Dunbah Hollow on Bollington and Prestbury parishes’ paths near The Silk Road, Macclesfield

Map centred on OS SL 9164 7692

Dumbah Hollow holds a brook which runs along the east side of the north end of the Silk Road, Macclesfield.  The main path, Prestbury FP 33A follows a route from Flash Lane, between the Silk Road and the brook, to meet with Bollington FP6 where it crosses the brook further south. Prestbury FP 3 crosses the Silk Road and our path 33A to descend and cross the brook to Bollington FP5.  Noise from the road impinges a little upon our appreciation of the natural beauty of this stream and its wooded banks, but it is a lovely path to walk.

Incidentally, the stream with no name can be traced to its confluence (a grand name for such a lowly stream!) with the Bollin. It joins the Bollin at Top o’ th’ Hill, opposite Mottram Hall, avoiding the River Dean and Buttley sewage works on the way. It once served a hydraulic ram near its Bollin confluence.

By November 2013, Path 33A was overgrown with brambles and tree branches, and the wood structures needed major repairs. There are several flights of wooden sleeper steps, and boardwalks and footbridges crossing the stream. I shall describe our Project Teams’ restorations work by types and locations thus:

  • Clearing brambles and bushes.
  • Clearing tree branches on FP 33A near Flash Lane.
  • Replacing the bridge handrails at Bollington FP 6.
  • Clearing vegetation, and replacing woodwork at Prestbury FP 3/Bollington FP 5 bridge steps and boardwalk.
  • Clearing vegetation, and replacing woodwork on steps down to the north kissing gate on FP 33A.

Clearing brambles and bushes

ECR Projects Team began work on this path on 25th November 2013, cutting out and grubbing up  brambles.

Clearing tree branches on FP 33A near Flash Lane

In October 2017, we returned to the low-lying northernmost section where trees from The Silk Road wooded verge had overhung the path and were resting upon the highway authority’s wooden fence.

The trees grow very profusely in the moist environment here. We have cut the branches back to beyond the fence, knowing they have space to thicken out within the fence confines for several years.  Better exposure to sunlight will help to dry the path now….

Clearing up. Duncan Learmond, Tom and Gill North, Ian Wasson, Mike Collins
Tree and vegetation scars healing – some months later.

Replacing the bridge handrails at Bollington FP 6

Handrail and posts, rotted and collapsed, on the bridge at FPs 33A and 6.

Prestbury CP FP33A crosses the bridge to Bollington CP FP 6 here. In May 2017, in response to the PROW Officer Evan Pedley’s request, and along with other works, our team attended to the replacement of the handrail here. New railposts and a handrail were constructed.

Clearing vegetation, and replacing woodwork at Prestbury FP 3/Bollington FP 5 steps, boardwalk and bridge.

Soil and vegetation were scraped off the steps and new wooden pegs were driven to support the wooden step faces, and thereby extending the sleeper servicability. Rather than disturb the step by removing firmly nailed old pegs, the new pegs were driven next to them. On this flight and on the flight further north on FP 33A, we drove over fifty new wooden pegs.

Several rotted posts and damaged handrails were replaced on the stairflight. The soils rested on shallow bedrock and we found concrete support to them necessary. Two planks were replaced on the boardwalk.

Clearing vegetation, and replacing woodwork on steps down to the north kissing gate on FP 33A.

Vegetation clearance and placing staples on the steps was carried out as a priority, since we used them frequently in damp conditions.

New handrail posts were required to replace missing and rotted posts.

The paths of Dumbah Hollow will need further attention at some time to replace the wooden steps and improve the muddy low-lying section of the path’s surface. We have laid branches to alleviate the worst of the mud.

Our thanks must go to sixteen of our volunteers: Janet Allan, Ian Black, Mike Bull, Mike Collins, Susan Dale, Andy Davies, Brian Griffiths, Barbara Hare, Ken Hobbs, Philip Hodgkinson, Duncan Learmond,  Gill and Tom North, Ian Wasson, Nick Wild and myself.

16 Projects Team team members made 29 visits to site on 9 days and worked 122 hours, excluding lunch breaks.