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Guy’s Cliffe – A Vegetation Horror Story

Guy’s Cliffe, a hamlet on the river Avon in Warwickshire, is steeped in history. Occupied since the Saxon times, it is home to the legend of Guy of Warwick, who battled dragons and monsters to gain the hand of fair Lady Felice. However, filled with remorse for his violent past, he became a hermit and retreated to a cave in the cliffs – hence the name. A grand castle was built in 1751, although now it lies in ruins, and is a hub for paranormal activity and ghost hunts.

But in recent times visitors were in danger of getting an altogether different kind of scare – the kind that comes from getting hit on the bonce with a rogue rock.

The cliff face was in peril – from a plant nemesis that threatened to blow the stone blocks out and cause major damage to this area of historical interest. The cliff face itself was covered in vegetation, and all this woody growth meant that roots were steadily intruding into the rocky fissures, creating and expanding it’s cracks and fractures. A consequence of this was a steady stream of rubble and loose rock falling onto the pathway below – dangerous for the visiting public and any would-be ghost hunters.

So, in time like this, who you gonna call?

WallWalkers, naturally! We were asked to come and find a solution for the falling debris, as well as figure out a plan for the de-vegetation of the rock face.

Our first concern was addressing the falling debris from the cliff, since it posed considerable danger for the public on the pathway below. The team set about clearing the plant matter that had steadily been intruding into the rock face, and when this de-vegetation was complete we set about the task of removing the hazardous rock via de-frassing (basically ‘brushing off’ the loose and laminated surface until only stable cliff face remained). In order to ensure optimum safety, and less chaos to the proceedings, we created a wire netting curtain that hung from top to bottom of the cliff face. By abseiling down the 40ft cliff, our rope access technician could fix the netting across the sheer cliff face, so that any falling debris and rock would be guided to the base and prevent injury, as well as further damage.

In all, the job took five days to complete – and once finished the cliff face didn’t pose a danger to visitors, and the menace of vegetation was long gone.

So, did any of the team get the creeps while sorting out the creepers? Well, we were treated to a ghost hunt throughout the Grade II listed ancient castle in the dead of night, followed by a haunted séance hosted by the grounds keeper. While there were no exact ghost sightings, some odd paranormal activity occurred that night which certainly couldn’t be explained!

I think we’ll stick to the hair-raising task of abseiling down sheer walls for now…

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