When we adopted Loxter Ashbed Quarry back in 2011, the Champions Project funded the installation of a set of steps to provide a safe access to the quarry from the road. The following year we added the rail and refuge at the bottom to improve safety.
The problem is that if you install a set of steps in a wood, they will collect leaves. Although we always cleared the leaves and other encroaching vegetation when we were doing maintenance on the quarry, the rot set in (literally) especially at the lower end of the slope.
Ten years on, the access steps were showing their age to the point of becoming unsafe. At the start of 2020 we started to look at the options for replacing them but then came Covid 19 and lockdown and the issue was put aside.
EHT volunteer leader John Payne approached us in February with an offer of some funding for materials from Malvern Hills AONB. We had discussions with Roger Allsop, the landowner, who was keen to make sure the replacement would be long lasting and was willing to assist with manpower and materials.
The work was done in March. The old broken wooden steps were removed and replaced with block, securely concreted in place. We were lucky that the handrails are still in reasonable condition so could stay in place. There is still some minor work to be competed but the quarry can now be accessed safely.
There has been some rockfall at the quarry face and a lot of growth of vegetation on the quarry slope and floor but otherwise it is still in good shape. Once regulations and the nesting season allow, we will have a maintenance day to do some clearance and tidying up. Then we would like to hold an open day for visitors.
Our thanks go to Roger, John and the EHT for supporting this work and spurring us into action. We would also like to thank Malvern Hills AONB for their assistance with the funding.