Relish Trail, Birse
This project was to create a community-driven natural trail focused on less experienced riders. We wanted to create a trail with a low entry barrier but also a trail experienced riders could shred.
Impressing the St Fillans Community Trust with our work on Phase 3 of the Sustrans long-distance route development, we returned to the site in 2022 to undertake Phase 5 of the project.
Our work scope involved constructing 250m of tar path in a railway cutting. This was completed with a geotextile, a layer of Type 1 Sub-Base and a surface of single course asphalt.
We created the path platform with a five-tonne digger (equipped with an Engcon attachment) and a sledge pulled by a nine-tonne wheeled dumper to lay the path’s sub base. Using the sledge, we ensured that the correct thickness and crossfall was installed for the footpath.
We also installed a post and rail fence into the cutting along the access ramp, a stock fence along the path, self-closing gates and bollards.
This project represented a challenge due its location on a steep hill with difficult access.
To remedy this, we deployed a 14-tonne excavator with a tree shear to cut down the necessary trees (as agreed with the client) in order to create an access into the cutting. The excavator also formed the ramp using large boulders found on site and imported 6F2 Granular Fill.
Due to width restrictions on-site, delivery lorries could not drive up the hill along the local road. Instead, we set up a tipping area at the bottom of the hill and used wheeled dumpers to drive the aggregate material up the hill.
Another challenge to overcome was the drainage inside the railway cutting. Due to the impossibility of creating escape routes for the water in the wettest areas, we created a floated path on top of a granular soakaway, allowing for sufficient drainage.
To ensure safety, we employed a specialist subcontractor that carried out the scaling of the rock face, eliminating the risk of any loose material falling onto path users. During construction, the presence of an overhead power line meant that we had to liaise with SSE to identify our maximum working height and set up goal posts so plants could work safely.
To ensure minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment, an ecologist was integral to the project to advise on the welfare of bats and nesting birds. Prior to felling trees, a comprehensive survey was undertaken to ensure these would not come to harm.
Forming part of the new and very popular Loch Earn Railway Path, Phase 5 of the Sustran’s long-distance route development adds an asphalt path to the project that should need very little maintenance and has a 50+ year life expectancy.
The path has been a huge success and is already being well used by villagers and visitors alike.
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We work in sensitive environments to protect communities and habitats, allowing people to access nature in a sympathetic way.
Our skilled team has the expertise to complete a range of civil works for different sectors and purposes, while reducing environmental impact.
From concept to reality, we design and construct mountain biking trails and footpaths that are unique to their location and complement the natural landscape.