Guernsey Press

Cow’s Horn access in September

Access to the Clarence Battery, colloquially known as the Cow’s Horn, should be restored from La Vallette in mid-September.

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Work started in February to stabilise the cliff and rebuild the damaged steps to give access to the Clarence Battery from La Vallette. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33391118)

NSP Foundations started work on the site in late February to stabilise the cliff faces and rebuild the steps after heavy rainfall caused a landslide in March 2020.

‘All of the drilling is done and much of the netting is done,’ said Jon Greenfield, managing director of NSP Foundations.

To stabilise the cliff faces, the company’s workmen have drilled hollow tubes into the cliff face and flushed them with liquid grout, which has pushed out any loose earth.

‘They are typically two metres or longer,’ said Mr Greenfield.

The stairs leading up to the battery also needed rebuilding after the top part was completely wiped out by the landslide. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33391137)

The cliff faces have also been covered with netting and an anti-erosion mesh, which will still allow vegetation to grow through it, but will stop too much rain and moisture getting into the soil cliff face helping to avoid landslides.

The stairs leading up to the battery also needed rebuilding after the top part was completely wiped out by the landslide.

‘The top part of the staircase will be rebuilt and we are putting in drainage now,’ said Mr Greenfield.

States of Guernsey project engineer Paul Armstrong said that the drainage before was not working correctly.

‘It could have contributed to the landslide. We can’t be certain, but it could have,’ he said.

After the drainage system has been put in, NSP Foundations needs to put in the new patterned brick nosing.

The steps below the dog-leg are structurally sound and Mr Armstrong said all that was needed for the steps below that point was ‘minor masonry repairs’.

The granite wall around the steps will not be rebuilt but will be replaced with a black steel bannister aid.

Edgars Niedra and Declan Glass are two of the NSP staff who have been working on stabilising the cliff face above the former Aquarium. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33391115)

Mr Greenfield said that the work had gone smoothly on the whole, but he admitted the amount of vegetation on the cliff face was a challenge at the start.

‘We did feel like a bunch of gardeners for the first few weeks as we were there day in, day out removing as much as we could, but we had such a strong growth season which we were up against,’ he said.

Once the work is done, the site will go through a period of testing.

‘We have a short period of testing and reinstatement to do, which involves testing not all but some of the rods and putting them under a tension of up to 20 tonnes,’ said Mr Armstrong.

‘This is just to make sure they are all drilled in well enough.’

Mr Armstrong said that users of the bathing pools and the cafe had been good to them while the repairs have been going on.

‘We are very grateful for everyone’s patience,’ he said.