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Author Topic: Very steep stone track  (Read 522 times)

Dil in a Ditch

  • Joined Sep 2020
Very steep stone track
« on: September 15, 2020, 05:04:19 pm »
Hi I wonder if anyone could give me any advice.
My place is accessed over a steep stone track approx 200m long. I have right of way (so don't own it) but am responsible for any repairs etc.

It's steep and slippery and only a four wheel drive will make it in wet weather which means any visitors have to rely on the goodwill of the landowner and park at the top of a sheep field when they come to visit.

Water runs down it fairly freely, and into our yard, and it gets quite overgrown & muddy in places when the sheep aren't grazing it down. There's a ditch running the length with a land drain underneath the track taking the ditch water into the opposite field, which we rod regularly, but there's also alot of run off from the field below the drain which in bad weather makes and interesting water feature in front of our house.
Does anyone have any advice for how we can improve it? We'd originally thought of getting it scraped, but the landowner doesn't really like the idea. He thinks it might destabilise it (it's probably over 200 years old) He wants us to blast it with Roundup (and will remove the sheep for a week to allow this), but since the run-off will run off into our land I'm not super keen, and think it'll only clear it temporarily.
Any thoughts about how these tracks were originally maintained, or suggestions of how to deal with it now would be gratefully received.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 09:40:49 pm »
I'd tend to agree that scraping might not be a good idea - it's usually done to regrade the finer material that makes up the surface of most roads but yours looks more like it is coarser foundation material that might get dislodged.

However, the picture seems to show quite a good surface with no evidence of water erosion or rutting so it's probably a pretty strong, competent surface as it is.

No idea what to do to improve it, in the old days people possibly just got wet feet!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2020, 01:05:37 am »
I agree the surface looks good so scraping would not achieve anything positive.  Do you know how long ago it was last re-done?  If it was recently then the surface state today may not reflect how quickly it turns into ruts and potholes. Also if you use it much for vehicular traffic then that will wear it down more quickly than foot traffic.  Is it slippy because of the nature of the surface? I'm trying to think of a way to make it grippier. Perhaps you could discuss the history of the track and the maintenance of it with the owner. You are only looking at the most recent surface; what you need to know is what is underneath that surface, what are the foundations of the track like, or are those stones just placed directly onto mud? Knowing that will help you work out the best way forward.


I think that in the past the track would have been used to move livestock around, so they would have grazed it as they walked, which keeps the grass down from the central strip.  For horsedrawn traffic of course the central strip would have been used by the horse. I wasn't clear whether the farmer lets his sheep graze the track. If so then he can keep the grass down that way. I know that I would not thank anyone for causing weedkiller to pour down onto my land and house.


For general maintenance I would be thinking of hedging the bit on the left and cutting down the bracken on the right. This would help keep the track exposed to the sun and wind to dry it quickly. The hedge will be great for wildlife, but if done properly and kept wide and bushy, just not so bushy as at the moment, then it would still be good for wildlife but would not not obscure the track so much.  I assume it's the farmer's hedge and he perhaps already has a maintenance regime in place for it.


I take it you are at the bottom of the track, hence everything wet collecting at your place.  Is there anywhere lower the water could be drained to? Establishing a pond below your house would help keep your ground dry. Is any lower land yours or the farmer's?


We are having good success with using certain trees to help dry wet ground, species such as Alder and Willow, which grow fast and use up a lot of water in the process. As a side advantage, you get plenty of small wood for fires, poles and sheep fodder.  Our neighbour had complained that the water from our land was draining onto his, so demanded we clear the drains.  As that would simply have sent more water onto his land we soon convinced him that was not a good idea. Since we planted that corner up with Alder, Willow, wildflowers and someother trees there have been no further complaints from next door  :thumbsup: .  Next I shall have to persuade him to plant his bit with similar trees, rather than cultivate it to the very edge for maximum yields  ::)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 01:11:22 am by Fleecewife »
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2020, 06:40:58 am »
The track does look good, The drainage seems a major issue but not on the track, rather where it ends up. Presumably the ditch is on the lower side of the track and sounds like it needs clearing. Is there anyway water from the ditch can be diverted onto the hill rather than all ending up at yours? It maybe worth getting in a drainage consultant.


If the sheep aren't grazing the track off then you'll have to strim.


Scraping it isn't going to sort out water which is just doing what water does unless you do a major job of replacing the drainage system and the track which will be very expensive and if not done properly may cause more problems.

Dil in a Ditch

  • Joined Sep 2020
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2020, 09:28:50 am »
Hi All
Thankyou all so much for your replies. Some interesting thoughts there.

I agree the surface looks good so scraping would not achieve anything positive.  Do you know how long ago it was last re-done?

Talking to both the landowner (who has only owned the land for a few years) and the previous owner of our place, I don’t think it’s been touched apart from a foot or so of concrete in one rut for probably 50 years. The last owner was there for 30 and said he did nothing to it, and the owner before that is widely known for neglecting the place (although he did have a digger so who knows . . . ) HIS mother, may well have maintained it as she sounded very proactive. She was a widow who farmed alone and was the first person in the area to have a tractor- and also a car - so the track must’ve been passable if she got up it in a little ford!

[/quote]
For general maintenance I would be thinking of hedging the bit on the left and cutting down the bracken on the right. This would help keep the track exposed to the sun and wind to dry it quickly. The hedge will be great for wildlife, but if done properly and kept wide and bushy, just not so bushy as at the moment, then it would still be good for wildlife but would not not obscure the track so much.  I assume it's the farmer's hedge and he perhaps already has a maintenance regime in place for it.
[/quote]

Yes, the hedge is the farmers, and to his credit he has planted a hedge from the bottom on the left land side, which will be laid when ready.
I can definitely try trimming/scything the bracken.
On the right hand side there is/was a dry stone wall (you can’t see it because of the bracken) I wonder if it puts the sheep off grazing?

[/quote]
I take it you are at the bottom of the track, hence everything wet collecting at your place.  Is there anywhere lower the water could be drained to? Establishing a pond below your house would help keep your ground dry. Is any lower land yours or the farmer's?
[/quote]

Yes- were at the bottom! We only have 3/4 acre, and every thing else is the farmers. There is marshy ground below us, and eventually a stream. I was thinking of digging a pond Below the house to take the run off from the roofs, so I’m happy to see this suggestion.


[/quote ]
We are having good success with using certain trees to help dry wet ground, species such as Alder and Willow, which grow fast and use up a lot of water in the process. As a side advantage, you get plenty of small wood for fires, poles and sheep fodder.  Our neighbour had complained that the water from our land was draining onto his, so demanded we clear the drains.  As that would simply have sent more water onto his land we soon convinced him that was not a good idea. Since we planted that corner up with Alder, Willow, wildflowers and someother trees there have been no further complaints from next door  :thumbsup: .  Next I shall have to persuade him to plant his bit with similar trees, rather than cultivate it to the very edge for maximum yields  ::)
[/quote]

Great idea, and apt too, as the name of our house we think translates as either Alder, or Bog.

The track does look good, The drainage seems a major issue but not on the track, rather where it ends up. Presumably the ditch is on the lower side of the track and sounds like it needs clearing. Is there anyway water from the ditch can be diverted onto the hill rather than all ending up at yours? It maybe worth getting in a drainage

Yes, I think you’re right. It’s mostly a drainage issue. One of the problems is the run off from the higher field to the left. The farmer has talked about draining the field since we moved in, which would not only be great for the track, but for our barn which is currently taking a lot of runoff too. I think he’s put it off because of the added complication that our mains water runs through the field , and then under the  Track. He’s worried about hitting it, so we’ve had the water board out to dowse for it’s location, but it’s still not been done.

Where to divert all the water is a big question. We can dig a pond as Fleecewife suggested, but are in a very wet area, so I don’t think it would be long before that would also need run off. I don’t know what the etiquette/ law is about draining onto other people’s land. I’m guessing not done?? Our soakaway is on his land already, so we do have some drainage rights.
The field below our land, which then borders a stream is pretty much a bog already, and some of the old Animal trackways (Bordered by walls) are underwater except in the driest weather.

I’m not 100% sure WHY the track is so slippy. Whether it is the stone when wet, or mud/sheeps**t . It is frustrating though, but also possibly why we could afford it!


oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2020, 10:12:46 pm »


Talking to both the landowner (who has only owned the land for a few years) and the previous owner of our place, I don’t think it’s been touched apart from a foot or so of concrete in one rut for probably 50 years.

You have an absolutely brilliant track!  :thumbsup:

2 months ago me and the neighbours used 30tons of hardcore to fill holes in our track and now you would hardly be able to tell we had done anything and there are loads of holes needing filled.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2020, 12:38:36 am »
You forgot to lay fleece in the holes before the hardcore oor wullie! It helps to hold the stones in place.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Dil in a Ditch

  • Joined Sep 2020
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2020, 08:41:29 am »


Talking to both the landowner (who has only owned the land for a few years) and the previous owner of our place, I don’t think it’s been touched apart from a foot or so of concrete in one rut for probably 50 years.

You have an absolutely brilliant track!  :thumbsup:

2 months ago me and the neighbours used 30tons of hardcore to fill holes in our track and now you would hardly be able to tell we had done anything and there are loads of holes needing filled.

Brillliant apart from the fact ordinary cars And vans can’t drive up it. I think you may all be right though that it is more of a drainage issue than anything. If there wasn’t so much water, I’m guessing there wouldn’t be so much mud/grass and bracken either? I think we need to identify where the water is coming from, and how to get it away. I suspect without the landowner draining the field (which I gather has been something promised but not done for a lot of years) this may be tricky. In the meantime I’ll clear what I can of the foliage and make sure the existing drain stays clear, and talk to the landowner about us putting in a drainage gutter across our gate, so at least the full force isn’t flowing through our yard.
Does anyone know what the deal is with drainage rights? Or the etiquette?  If water is coming into our land from someone else’s can we divert it back onto their land?

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2020, 09:34:38 am »

Brillliant apart from the fact ordinary cars And vans can’t drive up it.


Can't think of anything better. A lot more attractive than electric gates!  :roflanim: :roflanim:

Dil in a Ditch

  • Joined Sep 2020
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2020, 11:54:58 am »

Brillliant apart from the fact ordinary cars And vans can’t drive up it.


Can't think of anything better. A lot more attractive than electric gates!  :roflanim: :roflanim:

Yeah- There are definite advantages. Security being one,  privacy another, and conservation of the building being the third (It was too inaccessible for most buyers who would've wanted to knock it down and modernise)
. . . But I do worry about guests, fire engines/ambulances, getting anyone to do any work on the place (although my OH wants to do everything himself anyway). There's also no chance of ever having an oil/gas tank etc (although both may soon be obsolete so hey-ho) and the delivery shennanigans. Covid no- contact drop off has been a bonus as it's been easier to persuade drivers it's okay to desert boxes in the corner of a field!

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Very steep stone track
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2020, 09:56:32 pm »
Quote
I think we need to identify where the water is coming from,

Have you ever tried divining?  I was absolutely amazed the other day when a friend brought a local farmer to try to find the source of water coming out onto my neighbour's driveway.  He was given no information at all but within minutes found out where all my field drains were and what they were running into - including the two new ones that I watched being installed.  He also found electrical cables, my septic tank (presently covered (in thick undergrowth); and then he did his party trick.  Shut his eyes and told us to put two berries on the road.  We chose an elderberry and a rowan amongst a few tarmac gravel bits.  We told him to find the elderberry first. He started walking down from about 20yards up the road.  He only uses one diving wire.  As he was about to pass the elderberry it immediately swung to the side, exactly over the berry.  We then moved them, and then he found the roawnbarry exactly the same.  They were tiny and he had  his eyes shut concentrating while walking towards them and while we were putting them down.
Worth a try trying to find someone. A lot of farmers have the skill as they need to find field drains that have got clogged up
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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