An action plan to fight against ongoing problems caused by the popularity of a Calderdale beauty spot has been revealed.
Gaddings Dam, Lumbutts sees people visit from far and wide - but as a result there have been issues around parking, litter, access, dogs and fires.
Now CROWS (Community Rights of Way Services), which has been working for six months with Todmorden Town Council and Calderdale Council’s tourism and highways departments, has come up with a management plan.
Richard Peters, secretary of CROWS said: “It is clear that Todmorden has a popular visitor attraction that is not likely to disappear. The Todmorden News has covered the many problems caused by visitors and the call that ‘something must be done’. This project does not aim to discourage people from visiting the dam but it should contribute to the management of some of the problems caused by visitors.”
He added that the project aims to help visitors enjoy the place but explain the issues, guide people to suitable access routes to reduce moor erosion, and to the dam, explain what it is, what facilities there are, put in place interpretation boards and tackle parking.
“Parking has been perhaps, the biggest problem,” added Richard.
Calderdale Highways has already put down some white lining and following some comments from interested parties, will do further lining work in the next couple of months,” added Richard.
“Todmorden Town Council propose to put in a roadside interpretation board that will help people understand what they are visiting.
“The board will spell out where to park, how to get to the dam and dos and don’ts about litter, fires etc. Tessa Kerr has kindly allowed CROWS to use her fabulous photo of Gaddings.
“The board will include a link to a Todmorden Information web page to provide further information.”
The scheme aims to introduce Waymarking to the dam which has been a problem in the past.
“Because there is no indication of how to get to the dam, many people are going straight up the hillside damaging the moorland habitat,” added Richard.
“There is now an ugly eroded desire line that is becoming wider and more dangerous by the day, especially coming down.”
Working with Calderdale Highways, CROWS will waymark and improve two routes on Public Rights of Way (one via the Basin Stone and the other via Jail hole) and put up signage to discourage people using the desire line.
Richard added: “Waymarking should encourage more people to use a route that will cope with extra traffic and prevent people from getting lost, but the downside is the installation of several waymark posts along the Rights of Way which may be seen as a detriment to the landscape.
“CROWS have consulted on this dilemma and the feeling is that if visitors are not channelled away from the scramble to the dam it will end up being wider and wider and a complete eyesore (and even more dangerous).”
CROWS hope to start work - funded by Crook Hill Community Benefit Fund, Calderdale Council and Todmorden Town Council - in early October.
The project will be done in four phases: low waymark posts on the two routes, installing wooden finger posts at all the key junctions and small signs to discourage people using the eroded desire line, improving the two paths (mainly improving the drainage and path surface) and putting in roadside interpretation board.
CROWS has consulted widely on this project, but still welcome comments and suggestions. The details of the project can be found on their website at crows-coop.co.uk/gaddings-dam-project.