Godalming & Haslemere Ramblers

Footpath Reports

Work Party Report October 2015

Back to work! In May, in collaboration with the new rights of way assistant AB, we tackled installation of five way marks, repairs to one step and installation of a new field gate to replace an existing stile near to, and to the north of, Combe Court, Chiddingfold. Whilst recceing this job with the land manager we were visited by the owner’s dog—imagine an enormous dark brown shaggy bear, with a head the size of a lion’s. We discreetly stayed on the opposite side of the fence to him and asked the land manger what breed he was and was he friendly? The answer: some obscure Russian Breed specially bred to protect the sheep/goats from bears (hence the size) and he was usually friendly, but tended to get a bit antsy in the evening. Now there’s an incentive for getting the job finished quickly! Fortunately on the day he didn't even turn up for a sniff round.

For June, we installed two pedestrian gates, two way marks and cleared some veg around Dunsfold.

Unfortunately, July work was cancelled because of recalcitrant land owners not responding to requests for approval of work.

August saw us back at work near Prestwick Farm, Grayswood and some determined fighting with tree roots, which always seem to grow just where you need to sink a post! Perseverance paid off and two spanking new field gates replaced two rather difficult stiles.

Finally, our September work was under threat of cancellation, because AB was away on holiday, when a kind landowner offered her shed as a storage place for our tools. We split into two teams and while one team bashed and hacked their way through about 175 yards of severely overgrown path the other team erected a handrail around a pond edge and improvised with the tools they had. Why is there never the right screwdriver when you need one!

Work Party Report February 2015

In September we went back to Frillinghurst farm near Chiddingfold and replaced two stiles with kissing gates. This went very smoothly as the soil was nice and soft, so we then all piled in to help the veg cutting team who were hacking their way through a veritable tunnel of fir, laurel and the ever present tripping brambles.

October saw us out in the sticks at Ivelle farm near Baynards (South of Cranleigh) on a cool but bright day. Now during the recce for this job NS (the Surrey County Council rep) and I got seriously lost whilst searching through the wood for the official footpath and had gone in a few ever decreasing circles. So on the day of the Workparty we found the stile and location for the sleeper bridge easily enough (albeit in permanent shadow in what appeared to be an Arctic wind tunnel) and whilst the main team tackled the tricky installation of the kissing gate and sleeper bridge we delegated JW, JH, NS and RE to set forth into the trackless wood to find and hack out a clear path. There was a worrying time halfway through coffee break when we realised we hadn’t seen or heard anything from them for quite a while, but eventually they all reappeared oozing confidence that they had now cleared the right path.

November saw us back near Baynard’s at the other end of the wood / path, installing another two kissing gates. This time a kind couple across the road came out and presented us with hot drinks followed by a delicious bowl of hot sweet rice each … heaven.

Come December we had lost NS (not our fault; she had been seconded to a Downland conservation project as a maternity cover) and all work was stopped. However your ever resourceful team managed to fill in the spare time by an extended lunchtime meeting in Wetherspoons which was surprisingly well attended.

Latest status is that Surrey have just managed to appoint a replacement for NS and she will start in January, so we should be able to re-start workparties shortly.

Saturday, December 15, 2018