Helicopter flies to the aid of one of Norfolk's highest landmarks
PUBLISHED: 07:58 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:32 13 March 2018
A helicopter took to the skies over north Norfolk on Monday, to help with efforts to renovate one of the county’s highest landmarks.
History-steeped Beeston Hill – known locally as ‘Beeston Bump’ – has been closed off to walkers while work to improve the path that stretches from the bottom to the top of the well-known beauty spot is carried out.
The helicopter made 106 two-and-a-half minute flights to carry aggregate one ton at a time over the sea to the hill, where Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk trails team are working to renovate the badly rutted route.
The six-strong team has spent the past two weeks preparing the new path by hand but, to protect the hill, which is a triple Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the helicopter was needed before work could be completed.
It is hoped that the finished path, which is part of Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path, will encourage walkers to use a single route over the hill, rather than the four trails currently cut into the area.
Trails team manager Russell Wilson said the new pathway would help protect the geology and biodiversity of the hill, which has already attracted between 15,000 and 20,000 walkers this year.
“Once the summer comes, that number will increase enormously, so that is why it is important that we provide a better walking surface and keep everyone to one route,” he explained.
The 63m-high landmark, which was once one of a pair of flat-topped hills – its partner was washed away by the sea in the 1930s, was formed at the end of the last Ice Age.
Made up mainly of sand and gravel, it was home to a Y-Station listening post in the Second World War and, according to legend, was the lair of the ghostly hound Black Shuck.
It is now a popular haunt for locals and holidaymakers alike, with dog walkers and families turning out in all weathers to trek up the dozens of wooden steps to the summit.
County councillor Martin Wilby, who is chairman of NCC environment, transport and development committee, turned out to watch the helicopter at work.
He said: “I think the trail team is doing a fantastic job to improve access to this wonderful area, we have millions of visitors to north Norfolk, so it is very important to maintain and improve our coastal trails.”
Work is expected to be finished by the end of the month.