Peace has been restored to a path said to be up to 700 years old.
Protesters turned out in droves to stop work by Cheshire West and Chester Council on picturesque Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston, said to be a unique feature of their landscape.
The issue erupted before Christmas when the council began laying hundreds of tonnes of recycled road surface on the sandstone bridleway.
It argued the project was needed to improve the surface of the lane which runs from the Wirral Way on Chester High Road to Gorstons Lane.
Little Neston and Burton councillor Kay Loch (Con), the borough’s rights of way chairman, insisted the surface was often ‘muddy and impassable’ and the council had to ensure its ancient routes were ‘fit for purpose for current users’.
The work would be a ‘substantial improvement’.
Local author Anthony Annakin-Smith said he was ‘astonished’ the borough council was ‘presiding over the wanton vandalism of a unique part of our local landscape’.
He argued a large part of its character derived from its narrowness and, in particular, from exposed sandstone which he feared would be buried.
Action by the community secured a halt to the work and led to talks about a redesigned scheme.
Mr Geoff Holland, a footpaths officer for Wirral Footpaths and Open Spaces Preservation Society, said the council’s own archaeologist felt the sandstone surfacing should not be covered over but ways should be found of preserving it ‘as an integral feature of this historic routeway’.
Labour councillor for Little Neston and Burton Louise Gittins said at one stage:“This is vandalism of our countryside and there is huge public distress and anger.”
Described as one of the prettiest paths on the Wirral, the route has now been relandscaped with no signs of the road planings, which were the focus of residents’ anger, visible.
Contractors have removed planings laid over a sandstone stretch and elsewhere have laid a millstone grit surface suitable for a wide variety of users including walkers, cyclists, horse riders and those with prams and pushchairs.
Cllr Gittins is also co-ordinating planting to be undertaken by school children on the verges.
Mr Annakin-Smith commented: “I’m content that the lane looks much, much better than it did before the recent works, especially as the asphalt planings have been entirely eliminated from view.
“However, like many others locally, I’d have much preferred that the lane had been left untouched in the first place.
“The council played hard ball to start with but in the end we were able to deal with some helpful and reasonable people so that was very positive.
“I must acknowledge the support of many individuals and organisations including Cllr Gittins, the Wirral Footpaths and Open Spaces Preservation Society, Neston Town Council, the British Horse Society and Andrew Miller MP to name just a few.
“Most of all, though, it was down to the people of Neston.”