Pencombe landslide closes road indefinitely

Ledbury Reporter: The C115 following the last serious landslide to hit the area, in 1947. The C115 following the last serious landslide to hit the area, in 1947.

A LANDSLIDE near Pencombe, which saw three square kilometres of land slip away, has closed one road indefinitely.

Herefordshire Council shut the C115 amid fears that any additional rain may put motorists at risk, after the last landslide left behind a crater in the concrete country lane.

A topographical survey will be carried out, and an intrusive ground investigation completed, before the council will give the green light for any repairs.

In the meantime, a diversion from the A417 has been set up, and provides easy access to the family destination of Shortwood Farm – which remains open for business as usual.

The British Geological Survey has already produced its own report, which will be available online later this week.

BGS Engineering Geologist Catherine Pennington said: “The kind of landslide seen at Pencombe, while rare in the local area, has reactivated several times in living memory and may move again should there be long periods of heavy rainfall such as that seen over the last winter.”

The C115, a small road running off the A417, is routed straight through the area affected by the landslide.

In 1947 it was closed after a similar landslide caused a chasm, two metres wide, to open up in the road.

And while Ms Pennington said there are several engineering solutions available to remediate this type of landslide, the council will study this landslide before going ahead with repairs in an attempt to prevent it reoccurring in the future.

Herefordshire Council’s Lisa Sullivan said: “There is a need to fully understand the nature of the slip prior to making any decisions regarding the future of the road.

“As a consequence a decision has been made to close the road until further notice.

“At present any prolonged period of wet weather may aggravate the existing situation.”

The studies will look at the landslide area, and the surrounding farms, with landowners being contacted shortly for access.

One owner affected by the landslide is the Legge family, who have farmed in the area since before the 1947 landslide.

Janet Legge, who runs Shortwood Farm, said: “We were hoping something would have been done by now.

“Our deliveries have to go that bit further.

“Why not just repair it? The road had survived 60 years through rain and wind, and will no doubt last another 60 once it is fixed.”

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