Cawston – Fixing What’s Broken

Thursday 30th March 2017

This was our second visit to Marriott’s Way to repair gates and fences along this 26-mile trail from Norwich to Aylsham via Reepham. Our visit on Thursday to a very hot and sunny Cawston was to repair a kissing gate and replace a broken fence along the trail. Our location was on the edge of Cawston where the Marriott’s Way trail passes under a railway bridge close to the village hall. The kissing gate was alongside a very busy road and great care was needed to move materials from the truck to the site. Below the bridge, we repaired a broken fence and installed additional posts and rails.

We split into two groups with one team replacing the kissing gate posts working in brilliant sunshine while the other team were in the shade and cool of the old railway bridge. Lots of effort was required by both teams to get the old posts out and prepare the ground for new posts.

A work in progress, from a broken gate post and fence to a fully working gate and a sturdy fence.

The ‘sunshine’ team started by digging out the old broken post, which turned out to be a major task as the post had been set in some concrete. After much digging, we were able to remove the old post and create a new post hole for the fence alongside the gate. We added the new posts ensuring that they were level as we infilled them with some granite type one material and the soil we had dug out. Once the posts were in place, we added the railings and to finish off we deposited and tapped down three wheelbarrow loads of the granite type material around the entrance to the kissing gate.

The task under the bridge was a particular challenge when we found that the path was built up on layers of old sleepers with little soil to hold the posts in place. Ever resourceful we created sufficient gaps between the sleepers to drive in wedges and lock the new posts securely in place.

From a fence in disrepair to a fully repaired, extended and secure fence along the trail.

At the end of a long hot day we had achieved a fully functioning kissing gate and an extended secure fence alongside a tricky uphill section of the trail. Two local residents joined us for a while to help clear the site of litter and sweep the steps down to the trail. We also had a visit from two of our regular volunteers who live in Cawston and are currently injured but came along to give us moral support during tea break.