Flood damage forces closure of Allen Banks
Over the last month severe weather has devastated Allen Banks and Staward Gorge resulting in many destabilising landslips, the uprooting of large trees, erosion to the river bank and the much loved wobbly bridge being washed away.
The devastation began in December when Storm Desmond hit the North of England. Many areas of countryside that we care for in the Lake District were flooded, and at Allen Banks the suspension bridge, which had just been rebuilt after being damaged by a storm in 2013, was badly hit and much of it was washed away.
The extreme weather since Storm Desmond, has taken its toll all along the valley. In the Walks Woods, which is the first bit of woodland you reach after leaving the car park, a 300 metre landslide has washed away the network of paths and uprooted trees. The whole area is thought to be unstable and movement in the land is being seen daily.
Morralee Woods has also suffered from a substantial landslide resulting in huge boulders tumbling down the valley side wiping out pathways and uprooting trees. Again on this side of the river, continuous land movement is being noted by our rangers.
The devastation continues into Staward Gorge where landslides have taken place, but the full extent of the damage in this area is as yet unknown as the tracks rangers use to access the site are suffering from slippage.
The full scale of the damage, which is unfolding day by day as the rain continues to fall, is yet unknown, however it has been widespread enough for us to take the decision to close the whole site to visitors. It is simply not safe.
We know that Allen Banks is very popular with walkers, but we’re asking everyone to find an alternative place to walk while landslips continue to pose a daily risk.
Over the coming weeks our ranger teams will be monitoring the damage and we’ll keep you updated as we have more news. We do hope to reopen as soon as possible but at the moment we can’t say when that will be.