PRoWlers’ Progress – 5th June 2024

Keep an eye on the PRoWlers Progress in the News section of the website.

Footpath 41 – The gate adjacent to the school at the south end of a Knights Farm field.

This was one of the reported health and safety issues so had to be dealt with first. The bottom hinge pin had come out of the eye.  Now this gate is a heavy split field gate with pedestrian access and tended to topple on to enthusiastic walkers. Not good!

Also, not a complicated fix if there’s two of you.  Grease, lift, wiggle, drop – job done.  I’ll leave you to work out who was the greaser and who was the lifter.  Needless to say, both Jonny and Ricky were joint wigglers. The landowner had tried to do this on their own which was impossible.

Bridleway 38 – The long bridleway up to Beacon Hill, enclosed by hedges on both sides for most of the way and with a low ceiling in places.

This bridleway was becoming impassable for walkers and was already impassable for horse riders.  The hedges had encroached on both sides with huge brambles dangling from above. Also, the undergrowth had spread to hide the path in many places.  Jurassic Park has nothing on 38!

Now, as we all know, brambles are dangerous – so some care is required.  They always seem to know that you’re trying to cut them down and plot revenge on the unsuspecting.  But Ricky and Jonny were up to the job.

This time they had to break out the hedge trimmers (no relation to Jonny) and the loppers.  This was the first outing for some new equipment, and it stood up to the job very well. A couple of hours soon had the hedges pushed back and the ceiling raised for horse riders.  Obviously, at this time of year, trimming hedges is rightly frowned on because of nesting birds (and other critters) – so of course Ricky and Jonny were very careful.

Whilst clearing 38, they came across another enthusiastic parishioner (a Scot named Ken – you know who you are!) who was strimming the undergrowth.  With his help the whole job only took a few hours.  Thank you, Ken.

Whilst they were on 38, they noticed that the metal gate near to the end of the bridleway was permanently open and off its hinges.  This one will need some metal work and new hardware, so they decided to leave it for now (it wasn’t unsafe), do some shopping and return on another day soon.

Footpath 34 – Sometimes known as the Churchill ‘stairway to heaven’.  These are the steep wooden steps that drop down from Churchill Farm directly on to Churchill Lane.

The footpath sign had all but disappeared, and the steps were difficult to use, mainly because they were so overgrown.

Simple fix for the overgrowth – trim, trim, lop, trim.  The footpath sign reappeared out of the bushes and can now be seen from the lane and the steps (and gate at the top) are now usable.

Ricky looking just a bit scary. Would you trust that man with a trimmer? Click the image to see the true horror.

However, the steps, having been installed many years ago, are really past their sell by date.  The Prowlers will seek quotes and select someone to replace these.

Footpath 41 – The stile at the north end of field at the farm gate on to Churchill Lane.

The stile was overgrown, mainly with holly, which made it very difficult to use.  Again, this was reported by a parishioner (Jonny’s wife!) so needed attending to.

Trim, trim, lop, trim – the mantra of the Prowlers. Job done.

Now it should be noted that the farm gates have problems with their hinges, but the farmer is aware and has said it’s on their list – so please take care and use the stile rather than try to open the gates.

One final stop before calling it a day, reports that Footpath 58 was blocked by fallen trees.

Footpath 58 – Very wet track from South Common (near Heather Bell) down to the A358.

Indeed, there was a tree blocking the track.  Trim, trim, lop, trim restored the access, but the tree does need cutting up as it is still partially blocking the track.  Both Ricky and Jonny were getting a bit pooped, so decided to leave the chainsaws in the truck and return on another day.

So that’s the end of Ricky and Jonny’s first venture into the wild with their tools.  Stay tuned for another fun-filled episode in the very near future.