When we first created the main car park and laid the stone tracks at Sun Rising, the question of what material to use was a key issue. We decided to go with the most local stone: Hornton ironstone, from the quarries just up the hill. This would bring to the natural burial ground the rich red-gold of our Cotswold stone, minimise any necessary miles of haulage, and keep business local. It was a little chunky for a while, but with vehicles driving over it, with frost and sun, the stone gently broke down, creating a perfect surface. Most of the tracks through the site have also reached – or are on the way to reaching – that state too.
The main car park, however, gets too much use. Instead of remaining perfect, the ironstone started to break down to the point where, in wet weather, it was getting muddy with puddles. In icy weather, it could be slippery. A further coating of small stone was a short-term fix, these breaking down into dust all too quickly. Last winter, although the land desperately needed rain, the dry weather helped us get through without too many problems. A solution needed to be found.
Over the past few days we have resurfaced with a ‘gold’ gravel, again from a local quarry. Our hope is that this will remedy the situation with regard to those cold and wet weather problems of mud, puddles and ice. We hope you like the look of it too: it is lighter than the ironstone, but not too bright, and over time the ironstone dust should darken it further.
We are aware, however, that there are a few setbacks to gravel. Although it is not thick, it can be harder to walk on for those with limited mobility and tricky for wheelchairs: please let us know if you need help. Heavy vehicles can leave ridges, but we’ll keep an eye on this and rake when and where we need to do so. Finally, and what we were hoping to avoid, there is a crunch. Cars and feet are no longer quiet as they were on ironstone.
However, that crunch does create a marked difference: when you walk through the gate into the burial ground, you walk from gravel to ironstone. As such, you go from noise to a quiet underfoot. It’s a quiet that somehow amplifies the peace of the nature reserve. In that respect, it’s rather wonderful.
If you have any queries, or concerns, do let us know.