Friday 20th July 2018
Will our volunteers ever tire of installing kissing gates? Probably not since each one is different, and we are always (well mostly) up for a challenge. Looking back through our Blogs we have constructed many kissing gates over the past few years and each presents a different set of issues to overcome. So, on Friday 20th July we were at Spring Plantation in Taverham waiting for Annie from Broadland District Council to come and tell us what she wanted and where. Spring Plantation is the large area of woodland which sits at the corner of Fakenham Road and extends some way down Sandy Lane. We have worked here previously to cut back the rhododendron.
The task this week was to install a kissing gate on a path at the lower part of the wood that leads directly onto Sandy Lane. There is no footpath on the road at this point so the kissing gate would encourage people and dogs to pause and negotiate the gate before stepping onto the busy road.
The first task was to unload the truck and store all the materials and tools in the wood. Matt could then park the truck safely nearby. Annie had arrived and explained what she wanted doing and where the gate should be placed. First, though, Matt had to remove some overhanging hazel branches which were in the way. The brash from these was used to top up a dead hedge along the boundary with Sandy Lane. A “dead hedge” is basically a pile of brash and branches held in place by stakes that forms a barrier. It is an easy and effective way to construct a fence and lasts for many years. It is also a good way to dispose of the cut material.
Matt and Annie went off to look around the woodland to see what future projects were needed. Our team of volunteers got down to the job of constructing the gate. We have done enough of these to be allowed to “just get on with it” without constant supervision. All we need is a pile of material, tools and the brew kit and off we go!
Our usual discussion took place to determine where the kissing gate should be and the shape and configuration of this. This was going to be a simple structure with a 1 metre square corral with an open end against which the gate would close. So, with someone holding the gate we walked through how this might work and where the openings would be. The position of the hanging post was agreed, and we set to work digging holes. Not quite so simple since we were in the wood and there were lots of tree roots to get through. Also, the lack of rain for some weeks meant that the soil was really all dust and just fell back into the hole.
If you have read our previous blogs on constructing kissing gates you will know the form by now. Dig some holes, drop the posts in, hang a gate, fix some rails and check everything is square and stable. And that is just what we did here at Spring Plantation. We also replaced the old section of post and wire fencing alongside the road with new posts and rails and joined this to the new gate.
So, another job done. It was very hot day but fortunately much cooler under the cover of the trees.