February saw your enthusiastic team shake off the sloth of winter and start hacking through the vegetation, replacing several steps and refurbishing a bridge near Sydenhurst Farm at Chiddingfold. As part of the bridge task we spent a fair amount of time on our hands and knees brushing and scrubbing all the bridge planks to remove accumulated moss and debris and at the end it looked sparklingly clean. However on behalf of the team I must say that this should not be taken as us revealing a skill for scrubbing floors—this was an entirely different skill.
March saw us back in Chiddingfold revisiting two stiles and some steps we had installed in 2008 and replacing them with kissing gates and new steps. Hopefully the new kissing gates will last longer than the old stiles otherwise we are going to just keep going round our last nine years of work replacing stuff yet again as the wood rots out.
A change of scene then saw us in Alfold clearing vegetation and fitting two kissing gates and finger posts. Part of the vegetation clearing was alongside a path which we had cleared in February 2016 where we had removed a barbed wire fence (with Surrey’s permission because they had just bought the adjoining field for development of a care centre). So what do I find when I go to check the sterling work done by our veg cutters? Surrey CC (probably through their contractors) had removed the original fence and re-instated a barbed wire fence even closer to the hedge causing a real hazard for walkers. Cue an irate letter to the countryside team saying how come they can’t control their own work, let alone landowners. I am assured they are looking into the problem.
May found us tackling yet more step repairs, this time at Grayswood, on a path where, after a couple of years waiting, they have finally tackled the drainage problems. Fortunately, the weather had been very dry and the drainage works had settled down, so we missed out on another mud experience—hurrah!
Don’t forget that, with the continuing slashing of the Surrey Countryside budget, there is plenty of work to go round, so why not come and try out a new exercise regime with the Work Party Step aerobics class or the vegetation swing, snip and move formation team?