Following an invitation from Scottish Natural Heritage and South Lanarkshire Council, we viewed and assessed a 1.3km section of the scenic route.
Despite falling into a poor condition, the walkway was still popular with walkers and visitors thanks to spectacular scenery and areas rich in cultural, natural and industrial heritage.
Problems included large muddy areas, water erosion, encroaching vegetation and decaying timber edging.
Paths for All first became aware of the Ecofast™ Ecoproactive™ soil stabilisation process (currently marketed by Mackenzie Construction Ltd. as ‘Smart Surface®’) following its use to rejuvenate a section of existing path on the National Path Demonstration Site at Oatridge College. That work was undertaken in early 2016 and we were impressed by how well the material had performed.
So we were excited when an opportunity arose to use Ecopractive™ product and process to upgrade this 1.3km of the walkway near Blantyre.
The ability to limit importation of quarried aggregate material, by utilising existing path substrate, was an important consideration in choosing this material and construction process however we were also looking to maximise value for money and ensure that any finished surface was ‘fit for purpose’ for many years to come. Steep gradients that couldn’t be re-routed or stepped, future surface damage from motorbikes and restricted resources for ongoing maintenance meant that more traditional path surfacing materials would not have provided an effective solution and tarmac was not an option due to high cost and landscape fit.
Whilst the finished path is now impervious to water, and highly durable, an element of surface water drainage was designed into the project to help keep water off the surface, something that will be of particular value during colder months where water seeping onto the path from adjacent embankments can freeze and make the route treacherous or impassable.
In addition, one of the most attractive and sustainable features of this product is the ability to rejuvenate existing paths without the need to import aggregate however it cannot always be guaranteed and this project did require the importation of about a third the quantity of aggregate normally expected for a more traditional path build.
The completed works extended to the upgrade of over 1.3km of path. On top of this, 780m of open drainage channel was installed, new signs were erected, timber ramped steps constructed and 125m of ramped path re-opened to allow path users to by-pass the steps.