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Volunteers’ 10-year labour of love at Malham Tarn is complete
10:00am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
Volunteers have helped to replace a boardwalk that lets people visit one of the most precious wetlands sites in the country.
The wooden walkway, first laid more than 50 years ago, has been replaced with recycled plastic “boards” at the National Trust’s Malham Tarn reserve.
Under the guidance of ranger Tony Bullough, who has been working at Malham Tarn for 26 years, the volunteers have finally completed a ten-year-project to lay 1,050 metres of walkway.
The plastic footway is more durable and less slippery than the timber version.
Mr Bullough said: “We were always repairing the green oak boards simply because wood obviously rots in water. It was essentially like the Forth Bridge.
“Since we started laying the plastic we’ve found we don’t need to do repairs.
“In the long run it will be less expensive – it could cost between £2,000 and £3,000 a year to replace the timber. The new stuff is much more long lasting.”
It also blended well with the landscape because no two boards were exactly alike, ranging from light brown to a purplish colour. “Another advantage is that no matter what time of year it is, it doesn’t get slippery.
“The timber could be slippery underfoot but the only time the plastic is likely to less sure footed is with a white frost,” he said.
It meant the site was much more accessible throughout the year and was especially liked by schools parties visiting the wetland to see the flora and fauna.
As well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it has a Ramsar International Conservation Award because of its unusual position – an inland wetland, while most others were at the coast, Mr Bullough explained.
He praised the work of the volunteers, who had shown dedication over many years.
They included Roger Clarke, from Giggleswick, a volunteer for 20 years, Bill Morris of Skipton, Margaret Popham, a retired schoolteacher who had done ten years, Carolyne Eastwood, of Earby, and Helen Trollope, a nurse who came all the way from Ripon.
The National Nature Reserve is one of the most iconic and picturesque areas of the Yorkshire Dales.
It covers 146.5 hectares and is home to a wide variety of species including bird’s-eye primrose, Great Crested Grebe and the Northern Argus butterfly.
There are 90 species of breeding bird each year and since 1960 more than 200 species have been recorded at the site. This year is its 21st birthday.
For more information, call 01729 830416 or visit nationaltrust.org.uk/malhamtarnestate.
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