A Bridge Too Far?

Alan reports on the latest Footpath Working Party project 

Working Party: Clive Bostle, Glyn Hayter, Paul Jennings, Alistair Lawson, Pat Morcombe, Roy Pritchard, Alan Saunders, Peter Lee-Smith, Geoff Thould, Derek Williams.

After our considerable effort in constructing a roadside bridlegate, fencing and waymark posts back in August, we returned to Underwood Farm, Hill, ready to install two further bridlegates. As we were also planning to build a bridleway bridge on The Wychavon Way above Craycombe Bank, the working party split into two groups – six volunteers putting in the bridlegates, whilst the other four started building the bridge. The former group was assisted by Louisa and Alice, and the latter by Nick and George, all from Worcestershire County Council Countryside Service.

In less than two hours, the bridlegates were in place, with fencing each side repaired and strengthened. After a quick break for a much needed drink and festive mince pie, we were ready to walk to where the second group were busy working on the bridge. We were momentarily distracted by the landowner’s kind offer of unlimited amounts of horse manure, which one member took up with gusto, and mistletoe from an adjoining orchard which was gathered and distributed.

As we followed the path from the farm, the actual route wasn’t apparent, so Clive volunteered to install a waymark post. Soon, everyone was helping with the construction of the bridlebridge, which was much wider than a conventional footbridge, with room to allow two horses to pass. After much lifting, hammering, drilling, nailing and sawing, the bridge started to take shape. In our enthusiasm to get the job completed in the failing light, we started to nail down the planks to the framework of the bridge before establishing the optimum spacing between them and whether they would reach all across! However, this was soon rectified and the bridge completed.

I have received a big ‘Thank You’ from the staff of the Countryside Service to all members of the working parties who have given up their time in 2016.

The date of the next working party is Thursday 16 February 2017 when we shall be installing two kissing gates, plus a field gate on land belonging to Mrs Joan Bomford in Shinehill Lane, South Littleton, and a pedestrian gate on land belonging to The Ranch Caravan Park, Honeybourne. Please let me know if you are able to help on that date.

Alan Saunders

PS: A big thank you to everyone who submitted comments regarding the ‘Round Evesham Walk’ funding bid. Out of the ten projects under consideration, ours had the highest combined total in the ‘Strongly Support’ and ‘Support’ categories. We are quietly optimistic that we’ll get the £35,000 funding we applied for. Watch this space!