Above: It’s sad to see the ruins closed off – I think for the first time since the hall was demolished in the mid 1930s.

It’s the end of June and the ruins of Errwood Hall have just been fenced off. Chris from Forestry England thinks the restoration work needed to repair the damage caused by vandals and make the stonework safe could take two months (see previous post). He explained:

“As anti-social behaviour in the countryside has reached epidemic proportions, with the Goyt Valley being especially prone to this due to its location and proximity to major urban centres.

“We are working with our partners at UU and PDNPA to start to try and reduce this particularly at the Goyts Clough Quarry end of the valley where we have some major issues that impact on the water quality and continue to attract negative behaviour.

“Dealing with this is draining our resources both in terms of time and budget which could be better spent on more positive projects. It’s going to be a long road but we need to try and break the cycle of mindless vandalism and reduce the countryside’s appeal for certain members of society.”

Chris said they’d been planning the work for some time but had been forced to wait for the tracks leading up to the hall to be reinforced:

“I had tendered the repairs to the Hall in late 2022 but due to erosion on the track leading up to the Hall the contractor couldn’t get there, and it was quickly becoming apparent that even 4WD vehicles would struggle. There are several partners who also use the track, so I had to await the repairs before taking the repairs forward.

“I have been able to secure over £20k for the repairs and they will be carried out by a local company that specialise in that work so hopefully this can help in a preserve it and provide a starting point for other works.

Above: This photo was taken looking down the track towards Errwood Hall car park. The track to the left leads to the ruins. Thankfully it doesn’t look like this section will be resurfaced.

“The track repairs are also linked to the continued removal of the larch within the valley as part of the Statutory Plant Health Notice issued several years ago and there are several sites that we have not been able to tackle due to access and constraints like gas mains and deep peat. The aim is to plan the removal the remaining larch before it becomes a tree safety issue for the visiting public which is happening in other areas.

“Sadly, with the explosion of tree diseases over the past couple of decades there will be a whole host of trees that will start to die in the valley and my aim it to try and retain some of them as long as possible as they support a wide range of species. A good example of these are the Sweet Chestnut trees in and around Errwood Hall which are declining at a rapid rate and will make some paths dangerous to use in the future.

“There are also some mature larch up that valley that will need felling to ensure public safety, I aim to try and leave some in to decline naturally as there are amazing habitats but as you can appreciate this is a bit of a balancing act in a very busy valley.”

The work begins!

Update: 24th August 2023: Chris from Forestry England has messaged to say: “The contractors are on site starting the repairs and this is likely to take around five weeks. If folks can keep their eyes peeled for thieves, it will help them immensely as thieves are targeting contractors across the region.”

Which hopefully means that the fencing around the ruins will be removed by the end of September.

Update: 15th September 2023: Contractors Clive (left) and his son Darren from Worsley Restoration pictured at the ruins this afternoon. They think it will take another four to five weeks to finish, depending on the weather. So perhaps the end of October before the fencing is removed.

Topic tags (click for similar posts): Errwood Hall | Forestry England