Godalming & Haslemere Ramblers

Footpath Reports

Work Party Report October 2014

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.

Work Party Report June 2014

February Work Party was held on the Greensand Way to the South of Cranleigh. We cleared a large section of vegetation and installed a kissing gate and steps to replace a broken down stile.

March saw us near Shamley Green just down the main B2128 from St. John’s Seminary. This section of road is a bit of a race track between Wonersh and Shamley Green, with the path from near Lostiford house stepping right out into the road without any visibility. The evidence that we needed to be careful when working near the road was pretty overwhelming i.e. since we had done our recce someone had run off the road and demolished part of a stone wall on the other side of the road from where we were working. Just after we arrived there was a screech of brakes and someone crashed into the plastic barriers which had been erected around the broken section of wall and then drove straight off!

The exit from the path onto the main road was a Russian roulette experience because you had to worm through some serious laurel branches whilst simultaneously climbing the stile, followed by a step down and out straight onto the road. So we donned our fluorescent jackets, hefted our Men at Work signs and cones and removed the stile, cut back all the trees and installed a field gate with a clear platform, so that you could peer round the trees before you needed to step into the road.

We also cleared several fallen trees/bushes from the path and cleaned up round a couple of the stiles further along the path. None of the drivers passing our little work party seemed to slow down much but I think that was partly because they saw this bunch of dodgy fellows in fluorescent jackets and probably thought we were all on community service orders!

For April we scaled the heights of Holmbury Hill and carried out a revetment on the side of the Greensand Way on the edge of the hill. This was required to try and encourage walkers to use the proper footpath and not stray onto the nearby cycle track.

Saturday, December 15, 2018