Machine Built Paths
It is not always necessary to import material in to create a path surface, in many cases suitable material can be found on site. Many upland paths have been built using a technique which reorganises the existing material and uses that to create the path surface.
On peat the technique involves removal of the overlying peat and digging out the sub-soil. The peat and turves are then replaced forming a shallow drain alongside the path. The sub-soil is used to surface the path alongside the drain.
The process is ideal for areas where the ground is sensitive to damage as there is no need to track tonnes of material in to site - the machine simply drives out and builds the path behind it as it leave the site.
Care needs to be taken with the drainage, and many managers have found that the paths need some surface dressing (although this depends on the nature of the sub-soil). All paths of this kind require maintenance but they will revegetate and can provide a sustainable visually unobtrusive path, which has the advantage of being comparatively cheap to build.
The Lake District National Park authority use this technique — the pictures (thanks to the LDNPA) are from Coledale Hause taken in 2003 and again in 2006. No material was imported, a digger was used to reprofile the landscape, ensuring the path was well drained with a turfed drain.
The second photos are of the path from Walna Scar to Dow Crag, taken in 2004 and 2006. The work involved no imported materials other than special upland seed mix. A new, cambered path line was created at a reasonable gradient (about 15 degrees) using material won on site from the corresponding dish drain alongside, and the old eroding line was covered with spot turfs.