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Pelaw Wood landslip restoration project


Essential works to secure the landslip site at Pelaw Wood in Durham City have now been completed. The works restored the river side path and made the area safe for walkers, rowers and cyclists.

Information about the landslip and work carried out to clear it

What originally happened?

The original landslip started around Christmas 2012/13 when some trees started to move, with the full landslip occurring in May 2013 during very poor weather conditions. At this point the path which runs along the edge of the Wear was blocked and then closed to the public in May 2013.  Signed diversions have been in place since this time.

Why did it take so long to start work to clear the landslip?

We had to carry out detailed investigation work to assess the cause of the original landslip to give us enough information to design and plan stabilisation works. 

As part of this we had to drill boreholes, carry out a ground investigation and monitor the slope for a period of time, to assess the risk of future movement.  

We worked with geo-technical engineering specialists to come up with a design which provides best value for money while ensuring the slipped slope is properly stabilised. 

The safety of people using the area is of vital importance, so we had to ensure we carried out a robust and thorough design process to ensure we had properly assessed the risks and put the right solution in place.

Access to the site was very difficult, due to the isolated location and narrow access tracks. We were limited to the use of small excavators and dumpers, which meant work took longer to carry out. In addition, we could only work on small areas of the slope at a time to minimise the risk of another landslip occurring. 

In January 2016 there was an additional landslip which delayed the progress of the project.

Does the slope look like it did now the work is complete?

The slipped material has been removed and taken down to stable ground. The slope has been rebuilt using a granular stone which is much more stable on steeper slopes. The stone has been covered in top soil and a geotextile which will hold the material in place to allow vegetation to re-grow. The area has been seeded with a specialist wildflower seed mix, suitable for woodland conditions. 

Over time, new trees will grow and will blend in with the surrounding area. We have worked with our in-house ecology and biodiversity team to ensure the best possible re-establishment of the slope.

Will the work prevent further landslips along the bankside?

The stabilisation works will only affect the immediate area. The bankside along this stretch of river is very steep and there is evidence suggesting a number of historical landslips. The natural geology and topography of the area makes it prone to landslips. It will not be feasible to stabilise the whole length of the slope in this area.

Contact us
Highways and Streetscene
03000 261 000
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