At Sandscale Haws we try to keep the site looking and feeling as natural as possible. However we do have approximately 400 metres of boardwalks that lead visitors from the car park down to the beach and to our Natterjack toad breeding pools.
This is to make the site more accessible to people of all abilities. The problem we have at the moment with our wooden boardwalks is that they have started to rot, warp and become very slippery after years of use making them less than perfect. Due to this we are currently in the process of replacing some sections of the old wooden boardwalks with new recycled plastic boards that hopefully will last longer than their wooden counterparts.
We started replacing the boardwalks back in 2014 taking them up a section at a time during the winter months to allow for the least amount of disruption for people wanting access to the beach. We have currently replaced 150 metres and hope to have done another 40 by the end of 2016. Whilst this may not sound like a lot we are only able to carry out the work in off-peak seasons as well as working around the breeding seasons of the Natterjack toads and Great Crested Newts.
The reasons for using the plastic boards instead of wooden boards is that their life span is be longer lasting anywhere from 30-40 years, we are reusing a waste material in a positive and constructive way and they are also less slippery underfoot when wet making them safer to use.
Luckily for us we have a wonderful group of volunteers who come in every week to help with the conservation work that we carry out on site. They have been instrumental in helping us get to where we are in the project either through helping with the laying of the boardwalks or offering advice on the best way to get the work done.
Over the next few years we are hoping to replace the majority of the boardwalks making access to the beach and nature reserve easy for everyone who visits.