Repair works to Ridgeway National Trail
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but the repairs required are essential and the subsequent investigation work will help us and our partners establish how we best protect this beautiful area in the futureBridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways
Part of the Ridgeway National Trail in Wiltshire will be closed to motor vehicles over the summer months to enable repairs to be carried out.
The first few miles of the Ridgeway National Trail are near Avebury and lie within the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site between Overton Hill and Hackpen Hill. This section is in need of repairs to the surface. This part of The Ridgeway is a Byway Open to all Traffic, which means that motorised vehicles can legally pass along here. Use by motor vehicles has caused considerable rutting of the surface, making it difficult for all types of users to travel and damaging internationally important archaeological features.
Wiltshire Council must use local materials appropriate to the World Heritage Site to carry out the repairs. It is difficult to know how much and what type of vehicle traffic the local materials can withstand, so an experiment will be carried out.
In order to protect the surface during the wettest months of the year, a seasonal Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) currently prohibits motorised vehicles from using this stretch of the route throughout the winter months, between 1 October and 30 April.
This year, from 1 May to 30 September, a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) prohibiting motorised vehicles will be put in place. This is to enable some test sites to be repaired and to allow the new materials to bed in and grass over. Walkers, cyclists, horse riders and horse and carriage drivers will be able to continue to use the route at all times. The TTRO will be in place during the summer solstice celebrations, but the first stretch of the Ridgeway and byway Avebury 5 will be open for public access as usual.
The seasonal TRO will then come into place on 1 October 2019, as normal.
From 1 May 2020, this TRO will be lifted and the route will reopen to some or all public vehicles. From October 2020, the seasonal TRO will come into place again until the spring of 2021, during which time Wiltshire Council will work with the Avebury World Heritage Site Steering Committee, The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and The Ridgeway National Trail Partnership, to assess the performance of the new materials.
Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways, said: "It's important we do all we can to protect this area with its archaeological heritage. We believe the measures we will be putting in place are appropriate. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but the repairs required are essential and the subsequent investigation work will help us and our partners establish how we best protect this beautiful area in the future."