In May we went to Grayswood to install two new kissing gates to replace one stile and an old wooden kissing gate, both of which were no longer effective in retaining the inquisitive goats who inhabited the field and were all tied up with string and baling wire. They each had their own difficulties for installation because of sloping ground on one and very boggy ground at the other. We did however have a very attentive audience during the installation from one of the goats who saw it as a new challenge to be conquered!
We were also distracted when the farm owner turned up, followed everywhere by a tiny orphan Shetland foal which she was still regularly feeding. It was so cute!
The following month we returned to find that the geotech material we had put down to stabilise the soil had had to be removed because our friendly goat had dug up the corner and then started pulling it out and chewing it. I knew he was watching with interest.
The main task for June was to install some additional sleepers onto an existing bridge. First task was to move the very heavy oak sleepers from one end of a field, where they had been dumped, to the work site. I was assured this would be quite easy using a sleeper trolley along an existing path. Boy was that wrong! It was a very bumpy overgrown path which then careered down a hill. We were all quite exhausted by the end. Never again.
Added to this, two of our members were on shepherding duties whilst we opened the gate and carried the sleepers through. They both failed their junior wrangling badges and managed to let the baby shetland pony escape. Fortunately he only had little short legs and we caught him fairly easily. We managed to pick him up and put him back in the field and the goats didn’t realise the opportunity they had missed, as they were still playing with last month’s kissing gates.
July saw us at Frillinghurst Farm near Chiddingfold, where we installed a wooden kissing gate hich the land owner had reluctantly agreed to. One week after we had completed this task she rang Surrey Rights of Way team and said she was so happy with the installation she would like the other stiles on her property replaced by kissing gates.
August turned out to be a holiday as unfortunately Nicky the Surrey Rights of Way officer was off sick.