WORK is progressing on the long-term restoration of an area of woodland washed away in landslips in extreme wet weather conditions.

Essential work to secure a section of Pelaw Wood, overlooking the River Wear in Durham, have been continuing in the four years since the major landslip of May 2013, which came only months after a smaller slide first took foliage down the bankside.

The aim is to restore the riverside path and make the area safe for walkers and cyclists, as well as rowers on the adjoining river.

Although the riverside footpath has been blocked and fenced off to pedestrians, the woods have still been accessible via alternative higher pathways.

Work to stabilise the slope began in earnest in October 2015, following analysis of the second landslip.

The steepest parts of the bank have had soil nailing works, with mesh installed in places and stone and ‘geoweb’ retaining walls used to try to keep as much of the existing material as possible in place.

Some trees have had to be sacrificed to provide access, though as many as possible have been retained and it is hoped new trees will grow.

The area is being planted with a specialist wildflower seed mix.

It is hoped that the riverside footpath could reopen in coming weeks.

Speaking in her annual report to the voluntary conservation group, The Friends of Pelaw Wood, secretary Sarah Wheater said much progress has been made.

“When I wrote last year’s report I really hoped that by the time I wrote this one, the landslip would finally be behind us, but sadly not quite yet.

“Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer!”

During the past year the group has helped to install new railings, improved some of the steps and added a decorative wrought iron seat.

The friends meet to carry out work on the first Sunday of each month.

Anyone wishing to join the next working party, on Sunday, should meet at the Pelaw Wood sign, on St Giles Close, Gilesgate, at 10am.