Tuesday 27 October 2015

River Bank Fencing

We've started installing fence posts along the river bank at the Turnditch Orchard. We'll be setting up a wire stock-fence using those posts. This is all part of the plan to make the orchard site safer for local children and dogs. Normally the river is quite shallow with a gentle flow, but after a storm or in winter when the river is in spate it is an entirely different beast. It would be a dangerous place to enter under those conditions. 

We've been clearing the river bank of uncontrolled shrubs and trees so that we can plant some willow spiling to help reinforce the banks against erosion. We've also removed some elm trees which appear to be infected with Dutch Elm Disease. All of this work has significantly exposed access to the river, so we need a fence to improve safety and prevent visitors and users of the public footpath from accidentally straying into the river Ecclesbourne. We also need to stop dogs entering the river from the footpath and going upstream under the road bridge to fields where sheep are grazing.

We were able to drive most of the fence posts into the ground. A 20 Kg post driving tool helped to ease the task, though the repeated lifting and dropping of the tool onto the posts was quite hard work. The following day we certainly discovered muscles we'd forgotten. However as we approached the roadside near the bridge it became progressively more difficult to drive the fence posts into the ground. We started hitting rock buried in the ground. So we have one fence post as yet not installed. We'll need to use a pickaxe to dig a hole and then use concrete to securely embed the fence post.

After the work I was talking to one of the local residents. I was very interested to discover that some years ago part of the river bank next to the bridge had collapsed into the river and had to be rebuilt by the roads authority. It certainly explains why we found so many rocks in the ground at that location.

Edit: in a later Blog posting you can see this single remaining fence post generated a lot of extra work.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Started the hedging

We spent a couple of hours in the Turnditch Orchard this morning in the bright Autumn sunshine. We were working on cutting some of the hedges. These we the ones we'd had re-laid and renovated early last year. They've grown quite tall and need trimming back to encourage dense growth within the hedge.

We've been using an extended pole hedge trimmer powered from a 2.5KW petrol generator at the end of a long power extension lead. The generator starts easily using a recoil cord if you remember to turn on the control switch.

Sam hard at work with the hedge trimmer.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Stump pulling competition

We had a great competition at the orchard field in Turnditch last night using a cable winch to pull up the stumps of the Blackthorn bushes. It was all going well until the occupants of a previously undiscovered wasp nest decided to intervene. Everyone received at least one sting from the insects who did not like us disturbing their wood pile. Then poor light stopped play.

The volunteer team scored a narrow 5 - 4 victory over the management in terms of stump extractions.