Concrete and Clay (Unit 4 + 3)

Alan reports on the latest Footpath Working Party project 


Glyn Hayter, Peter Lee-Smith, Roy Pritchard, Alan Saunders, Ken Sefton, Dennis Skelcher, Derek Williams

Having met in Shinehill Lane, South Littleton, we were joined by Joe Bomford, grandson of the landowner, Joan, and by Alice and George from The Countryside Service. The plan of the day was to install two kissing gates in Shinehill Lane, plus a metal farm gate next to one of these. Joe brought the heavy gate on his tractor, saving us the task of man-handling it to the site.

After a brief discussion, Alan, Derek and Dennis departed with Alice to make a start on one of the kissing gates, whilst the remaining members set to with their excavations.

Glyn writes: The work got off to a slow start as we hit concrete in our first hole and again in several further test holes. There was much discussion about what was below the surface… Pillbox, building foundations, nuclear shelter or even excess concrete dumped from the construction of the prison. Eventually we found “soft” ground only to hit something hollow sounding. As Joe had said that a water main flowed along the lane George ensured that we dug with caution until we were certain it was only a rock. Once we had overcome the concrete, work went well, and the kissing gate was relatively easily installed. Almost immediately, as Joe started to dig the post hole on the other side of the farm gate, he hit more concrete. It was at this point he realised that we had been attempting to dig through concrete capping over a drainage pipe running across the gateway! Throughout the day, dog walkers passed by. One (with green hair and a thermos mug of coffee in her hand) wanted permission to shoot a troublesome fox on Mrs Bomford’s land.

Alan writes: The holes for the kissing gate, which was being installed opposite the Moyfield Riding Stables, were quickly dug and the gate installed. Mrs Bomford paid us a visit and said how much she appreciated our efforts. The fencing attached to the kissing gate was in need of repair to ensure that the horses in the field could not escape, and rather than just nailing, it needed to be bolted together, which took us much longer than anticipated.

A big thank you to everyone who helped on the day, especially Derek and Dennis from the village.

The next Working Party has been scheduled for Thursday 27 April.

Alan Saunders

Ed’s Note:  You’ll have to ask Alan about the significance of this post’s title (or Google it).