Friday 27 May 2016

Loads of visitors to the Orchard

I'm working on producing a "dog gate" for the field gate gate which leads to the adjoining field at the orchard. I'd temporarily covered the field gate in stock wire to stop sheep leaking into our orchard. However the blocking of the gate makes it difficult for walkers using the public footpath if they are accompanied by their dogs. The stile by the gate is a climb-over version and is difficult for dogs to negotiate. I'd arrived to double check the measurements of the dog gate I'm building and found a couple of lambs grazing down by the willow grove in the orchard. My herding skills came into play again as I directed them back into the adjoining field. Someone had loosened a section of the wire fence I'd fitted to the gate. The lambs of course had taken advantage this hole in the security. 

While I was working on the field gate I heard a lot of commotion at the roadside gate on the north side of the orchard. I went over to look and found a large group (approx 50) of schoolchildren, accompanying adults and dogs. I think it was from the local primary school in Turnditch. They'd been following the public footpath through the fields to the north of the A517 Ashbourne road. The group was making slow progress in negotiating the stile on the other side of the road. I gave them a hand by unlocking our gate  so they wouldn't be slowed by the stile next to the bridge. The accompanying adults were worried by the fast moving traffic on the A517 so I donned my bright yellow PPE jacket and helped to stop the traffic while this group safely crossed the road. The process took several minutes slowed by small children with large rucksacks negotiating a narrow stile gate.

Once the road traffic was flowing again, I turned my attention back to the other field gate next to the sheep field. The school group were having trouble with getting their dogs through the field gate or over the stile. I took pity on them and released that gate from its chain. The chain has two large padlocks, but is in reality only secured by being hooked over a bent nail. There were lots of thanks from the group and they were on their way. It proved to me the efforts to provide a dog gate on the footpath is worthwhile. If I don't do this I'll only find that some idiot has left the gate unsecured and I'll have an orchard full of sheep and no leaves left on our young fruit trees.

Edit 30th June 2016
I've been told the school visitors were probably taking part in the activities celebrating Ascension Day.

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