Derby

Row over Dovedale beauty spot stepping stones

Renovation work on a river crossing at a Derbyshire beauty spot has been described as "vandalism" and "health and safety gone mad".

The stepping stones crossing the River Dove in Dovedale have had limestone blocks cemented on top.

Opponents to the move posted remarks on a Facebook group saying the new caps had spoiled the stones' natural beauty.

The county council, which carried out the work, said it had used local stone and made sure all the slabs were level.

The crossing, which is made up of more than a dozen slabs, was immortalised by Izaak Walton in his famous 17th Century fishing book, The Compleat Angler, and has featured on postcards of the area.

'More accessible'

Rebecca Stapleford left a message on a Facebook group, called "Return the Dovedale stepping stones to their former natural glory!", saying: "This is absolutely ridiculous. How many people have been injured on these stepping stones?

"I'm sure it can't be many. Surely not enough to warrant spoiling them in this way! This is typical health and safety gone mad."

Melanie Hazelton added: "That is nothing short of vandalism! Crazy!"

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: "Over the years, the high usage has worn the stones and - together with the changing river bed level - this meant there was a large discrepancy in the crossing's level from bank to bank.

"Some stones were above the water level and others would be flooded, particularly in winter when the water levels are considerably higher."

Michael Innerdale, National Trust general manager for the Peak District, which manages the site, said: "We feel the work carried out by the county council has improved the condition of the stepping stones, making them more accessible for our visitors.

"Derbyshire limestone has been used to repair the stones and in time the stones will weather in appearance."

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