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Friday, 22 August 2014

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New springs could put walkers near Brampton at risk

Walkers on a country path could be in danger in cold weather because of two new springs.

Brampton springs photo
Parish councillor Eric Griffiths at the site in Gelt Woods

This water has been discovered on Black Path, in Gelt Woods, near Brampton.

Cold weather could make conditions difficult, especially on the path’s stone steps. There is also a risk of falling trees, and damage to parts of Brampton’s quarry.

Andrew Nicholson, of Carlisle City Council’s open spaces department, has examined the path.

“There is concern that the onset of frosts could turn waterflow over the stone steps into a dangerously slippy situation,” he said.

The two springs have appeared in the last year.

They are just under 150ft away from the edge of lagoons, which were constructed on an adjacent farm as part of a drive to preserve wildlife habitats in the wood last spring.

The two streams come together in an area of silt then head down the path and its stone steps. They become a single stream, then turn left into the lower edge of the Roman quarry before again splitting into two. The rock at the drop-off point has already been cut by the water and could suffer further damage.

The two streams then run across a lower path.

Mr Nicholson added: “There is no significant damage yet but, in light of erosion and tree falls over the last year or so, there is a strong possibility that the bankside could erode land around the trees, some of which are large and mature, and they could be de-stabilised.”

Because the springs have only appeared since the lagoons were constructed, Mr Nicholson has arranged a meeting with Natural England, which helped construct the lagoons, to investigate whether there is a connection.

He has also spoken to the owner of Unity Farm, where a water hollow has also been discovered in the last year.

Mr Nicholson said it was necessary to know the cause of the springs before a permanent solution could be found

He has also suggested action which could temporarily address the problem.

“These works do not address the potential erosion of the flows crossing the lower path,” he added.

“This is not currently a significant inconvenience to walkers but it could rapidly develop into a serious erosion problem, especially with the effect of freezing of the footpath and the bankside.”

Mr Nicholson said that funding any of this work before the turn of the financial year was not possible and has suggested that Brampton parish council, the landowner, could fund the works.

Parish councillor Eric Griffiths said it was important to determine the cause of the problem.

“But in the short term there is a danger,” he added.

Brampton parish council clerk has written to Natural England.

A spokesman for Natural England told The Cumberland News the agency believes the problems in Brampton may have been caused by heavy rain.

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