New Planned Pathway around Butte - further details
16 February 2022
The news that we plan to open a pathway around the base of the Butte has gone down well. Slightly more details of the plans are as below. All things being equal, the good news is that we are pretty certain some work before the end of March 2022.
As you know we would like visitors if they so desire to extend their visit and engage with the Butte even more. Having recently walked the route, the plan, therefore, is to develop a pathway around the perimeter of the Butte whereby people for the first time ever can look up to the Butte from all angles and can also be near the location of some key trenches such as Butte Alley, Butte trench, Maxwell trench and more.
To keep things simple, there is no need at least initially to have the expense of a full new wooden pathway and handrails which apart from cost implications would have future maintenance implications.
By clearing a pathway and compacting it, a natural pathway route is already there. We were worried about the likes of tree stumps and indentations making access impossible but now having fully analysed the 350 metre route again this is not the case. Sure there will be tidying and the removing of smaller older bush roots will need to be done but a safe, flat, firm pathway is feasible. We will cut back some bush and shrub height on the far sides to allow views up to the top.
Visitors as such will have two options or arrival i.e. go straight to the top or go right at a new entrance and follow the route around. The perimeter fence provides an outside barrier on the right-hand side and by allowing the shrubbery to grow in height a little, this will function as a natural left-hand barrier. We will also make use of existing cut-down branches etc. to direct and guide visitors.
It is envisaged that there will be one or two benches on the circuit for folk if they so desire to have a rest and to reflect on what happened at the Butte. There will be information boards or let us call them information tools. Any information tools around the perimeter however will be far more specific to the actual fighting for the Butte and just as examples could reflect the actions of the D.L.I., the 47th Division, the South Africans, the Germans, and a trench location orientation board.
This will take a bit of time to start and finish, it is entirely feasible however, and opens up an exciting development of the site without taking away anything in the slightest away from it.
If we find that over say winter the weather is so severe that it has direct effects on the new pathway to make it too muddy or whatever we, of course, have the option to close it over that period and reopen it in Spring. As you would expect the number of visitors to the Butte over the winter months is relatively low. There is also the option of installing a new wooden pathway similar to the one leading to the top of the Butte. This option is far from being dismissed longer term.