One of our main projects this year is to replace the steps in Newton Wood which have become a bit of a tragedy. (See what I did there. Steps… Tragedy). The steps which have been in for about 5-6 years were made from major thinning we had done in Newton Wood of large Sycamore’s. Unfortunately these steps have began to rot and lost their function as steps. Also as the steps begin to rot the stakes become more pronounced which could cause people to trip over. Furthermore, over the winter the steps become really wet and muddy and with the steps having become rotten too, it causes a slope rather than steps and may cause people to fall.
We have considered all options when it has come to the replacement of the steps. Firstly, we considered using Oak steps as it would be more environmentally friendly than using sawn and treated timber but we didn’t have financial resources to pay for such a large amount of timber.
We also considered trying to keep the steps looking similar to the old steps but there was no scope for such a large scale removal of Sycamore from Newton Wood or Cliff Ridge Wood and it would not be feasible to move such a large amount of timber due to lack of access, cost of trying to move the logs and getting contractors to do the work and general lack of staff resources. We even considered removing the top steps altogether and trying to re-vegetate it but the worry would have been that people would still try and walk up it and it wouldn’t re-vegetate. The only feasible way to replace the steps, which was necessary, was to use sawn treated timber.
So far, since starting, we have completed 20 steps and have plenty more to do. Hopefully we should be finished by the end of the year, but possibly later. Here are some pictures of how the new steps look.