12th June 2023

Erosion Control – Glen River Trail

Trainee instructors from Tollymore National Outdoor Centre joined our path team on the Glen River Trail.  
A section of stone pitching along the Glen River, Newcastle

If you’ve been up the Glen River Trail recently, you’ve possibly come across our Path Team, diligently working to tackle erosion and making a more sustainable trail for walkers. 

We were very fortunate to secure money from the Challenge Fund which allowed us to employ a path team from August 2022 until March 2023.  This dedicated team allowed us to build a 300m section of path through Donard Wood, along the Glen River.  Our longstanding volunteer path team also assisted with this section. 

Being the busiest mountain route in the Mournes, the erosion along this wooded section was infamous for slips and trips of descending hikers – shale rock that has been “polished” through wear and also exposed tree roots that are very slippy when wet made for hazardous conditions. 

Branch & Aggregate technique

As well as using traditional stone pitched path building techniques, the team also used a novel technique, specially developed/pioneered for this particular section.  It has been named as the Branch and Aggregate technique.  Curved branches (typically Scots Pine) are prepped and staked to the ground using 25mm diameter oak dowels. The space created is then backfilled with granite aggregate, and together this forms a step (see below). 

If stats are your thing, then this section has used a whopping 280 branches, 850 stakes, 120 tonnes of aggregate and 80 tonnes of stone !
With the exception of a 280m section between the 2nd and 3rd bridges in Donard Wood, there is practically a continuous built path, all the way to the summit of Donard ! 


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