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Ground Contamination Assessment Update

Trustee John Barton has sent us this report regarding the boring of trial pits to check for ground contamination.

Sites ancillary to the Railway Line

The results of investigation work undertaken earlier this year at Blackmoor Gate have recently been accepted and approved by Exmoor National Park Planning Authority. This means that Planning Conditions relating to Land Contamination Assessment at the Engine Shed site, Exmoor National Park visitors’ car park site and the proposed new railway carpark at the site of the former Blackmoor Gate Hotel are now discharged. No contamination was detected at these locations.

The Railway Line

Following acquisition of “The Halt” at Parracombe and associated land at Rowley Cross we have recently been able to undertake further trial pits and sampling into the infilled cuttings on these plots of land.

Our tenant at The Halt kindly allowed access on 1st September and the work was undertaken using a mini digger that could squeeze past the bungalow and flower beds without casing any damage.  The trial pit was dug in the overgrown area between the bungalow and Bridge 61.  The depth of infill here is only approximately 2.1m.  The cutting on Fairview side of the bridge was never infilled and is ready to receive track and ballast.

Mini digger excavating a trial pit at the infilled cutting at Parracombe in the garden of the bungalow.

On the 2nd and 3rd September the investigations moved on to the infilled cutting at Rowley Cross. The mini digger was swapped for a 14 Tonne machine because the cutting depth here was approximately 8m deep and anecdotally we were expecting to find some very large lumps of rock.  These were the largest trial pits our site investigation specialists had ever undertaken and it took 2 days to excavate and backfill 4 pits.

A 14 Tonne excavator digging trail holes into the infilled cutting at Rowley Cross

This leaves just one more round of investigations at the shallow infilled cutting at Holwell Farm between former Bridge 59 and Holwell Wood.  As soon as the hay crop has been cut we will be able to gain access to complete the investigative work.

John Barton 6th Sept 2021

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