CREATION OF A FOOTPATH & UPGRADING OF RUBBLE WALLS ALONG DINGLI CLIFFS PROMENADE
This project forms part of the Rural Development Programme, designated ‘Improving the Quality of Life in Rural Areas’. The programme is fully funded by the European Union under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
This project consists of the creation of a footpath alongside the panoramic road at Dingli Cliffs (Fig. 1) and the upgrading of existing rubble walls. In view of the sensitiveness of the area great care has been taken to conserve the informal and indigenous character of the area as well as rendering it accessible to disabled people.
The footpath, which is circa 2 km long, is situated between the area known as ‘Tal-Pitkal’ and the small Chapel dedicated to St. Magdalene (Fig. 2). The 1.5m wide footpath was entirely constructed of local hardstone. A particular feature of this footpath is that it has been designed to provide an uninterrupted walk along one of Malta’s scenic promenades.
This offered a challenge in a particular part along the footpath where the width of the road was too narrow to permit the construction of a footpath. The only way to resolve this problem was to construct the footpath over the garrigue (xaghri) but since this is a special area of conservation and a special protected area this could never be permitted by MEPA. The solution was to construct a raised walkway (Fig. 3), which is a light and reversible structure that has the least impact on the natural environment.
Upgrading of Existing Rubble Walls:
The upgrading of existing rubble walls (hitan tas-sejjieh) in the area of known as ‘Tar-Rih’ (opposite the spherical radar) consisted primarily of the replacement of circa 260m of existing ashlar walls with dry-stone random rubble walls.
The new rubble walls were constructed with irregularly shaped units of stones (franka stone and hard coralline variety) obtained from fields in the area (gebel tax-xaghri) or from the dismantled walls. The stone units were laid packed and locked together without the use of mortar or plaster.
The outer and inner layer of stones were held together with larger stones inserted into the width of the wall to act like a bond stone (katina) at intervals and smaller sized stones towards the middle to improve the interlocking effect. To give additional stability the rubble walls were constructed with an upward taper.