Monday, 14 June 2021

 Small Jobs Day

Wadsworth Banks Fields and Scout Head woods

Heidi and Paul undertook two pieces of work today as part of Small Jobs Day that aims to clear the backlog of job sheets that has piled up during the lockdown period.

The first site was the footpath at the rear of Banksfield Estate, Mytholmroyd ascending uphill through Wadsworth Banks Fields. Several large stones had fallen off the adjacent dry stone wall causing obstruction to the footpath. These were removed and stacked away neatly. The area around the stile was cut back and signposted and loose wire fencing tucked in. The grass has grown tall on the path snaking its way uphill and needs strimming; a job for another day.

The second site was a pathway off Midgley Road leading down a flight of stone steps into Scout Head and down into Brearley Woods, part of one of the Midgley Village Walks. At the road entrance to this path we found a wooden bench where walkers climbing up the steep stone steps found some rest from their efforts. Burdock, Ivy and Nettle were encroaching this little haven so this was cleared followed by clearing and cutting back the 100 steps leading down into the wood. 

This work funded from donations from a Luddenden resident.

, Hurst Road, Joan Wood

 Billie and Stella worked on this lovely path from Hurst Road a down through the beautifully-named Joan Wood.  We cut back brambles and nettles encroaching on the path down to the wood, and cleared vegetation which was almost blocking the two steps and forcing people off to the side.  The flowers either side of the path are lovely just now, so we didn't disturb them. (Sorry no pics of this part of the work).

In the wood itself the path through the beech trees follows an old cobbled way which is hardly discernable now under compacted soil.  We put in a waymark post  and cleared off enough of the cobbled way to make the route  visible.

This work was funded by Hebden Royd Council.

The way through the woods....

Painting the marker post marked (but turn left for Narnia)

Starting to clear the cobbled way

Friday, 11 June 2021

TODMORDEN: Ramsden Farm and Cranberry Dam plateau

 Ramsden Farm: stile building

Stile 1.

An increasingly sunny day for Frank S and Frank H to work in a spectacular location with views in one direction down a rocky gorge and in the other across the valley to Higher Scout.

At the start of the session: (view from gorge side)

Here's the task. This is a former 'kissing'gate that has been nailed shut to created a rickety fence.

All components are loose except for the right-hand post which doubles as a gate post.

The plan is to remove all except the right-hand post and construct a two step stile.

By lunchtime: (view from field side)

*Old structure removed.

*Right-hand side upright in place despite the very resistant ground conditions!

*Holes dug for step legs and the legs are temporarily in place.

*Quality control squad already inspecting the work . . . and you can't pull the wool over their eyes - or perhaps you can!

End of the session: (view from field side)

A very neat outcome - a two-step stile with four cross-rails. Everything that is supposed to be vertical is vertical and everything that is supposed to be horizontal is horizontal (miracles do happen!)

Technically the task was straightforward. However, stubbornly rocky ground turned the digging of holes into a strenuous upper-body workout! There might be some aching shoulders tomorrow . . . but at least it saves on gym fees!

Stile 2.

Further up the field, Peter and Ken created a new stile so the path now runs along its correct line.

Before and after

Unsung Heroes.

Mick and Catherine, were acting as Sherpas carrying timber to the various sites being worked on over the next few weeks. Well done, guys!

Today's work was funded by a grant from Crook Hill Windfarm Community Fund.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021


Paul and Stella after acting as Sherpa's to Frank and Ray's stile preparations, worked on three sites in the same area.

Site 1: Purprise: the ROW goes through the farmyard and out via the back garden, so accurate way marking is essential to keep walkers on the correct path. A finger post was re-erected and a small marker added to assist in this.

Site 2: Middle Dean Wood - A fallen waymark post rotted at both ends was trimmed and reused at the junction of two paths.

Site 3: Bridge Clough - path leading from the footbridge. Drainage issues here are a perennial problem to walkers and well known to CROWS volunteers. We made a start by digging a fresh drainage channel where water was seeping onto the path causing a quagmire. We also cut back the vegetation by the wall (mainly bracken) to widen the passageway for walkers to get through. Another day's work here...


Purprise: Stile number 2.

Ray and Frank H returned to the area where CROWS re-furbished a stile in April. Stile number two was further down a delightful meadow and serves as access to Middle Dean Wood.

Start of session:

At first glance, there does not seem to be a problem - apart from a 'creative' tangle of stock fencing! However, on closer inspection:

* Both side uprights are loose.
*The right-hand side upright is broken at ground level.
*The whole structure wobbles alarmingly.
*There are no steps! (Mmm! When is a stile not  a stile, but a fence?)

Just before lunch:

*Stock fence detached.

*Two holes dug for the  new side-uprights and uprights very firmly in place.

*Legs for steps in process of being positioned and in a lucky 'right first time', the spirit level bubble is exactly on the horizontal!

At lunchtime:

Fortunately Stella and Paul were working in the same area and willingly (well, at least they didn't complain!) acted as Sherpas to carry timber and tools down to the worksite. 
Many thanks - it saved Ray and Frank a lot of labour and allowed them to crack on with the job so that . . . 

. . . by the end of the session:

*New stile with right-of-way markers.
*One step on field side, two steps on wood side.
*Three cross-rails.
*A re-tensioned (as best we could) stock fence and barbed wire which were fixed to a fence pole screwed to left-hand side upright. This keeps barbs etc away from users of the stile and makes easier the job of detaching the stock fence when it has to be renewed. One construction curiosity that we noticed was that this section of stock fence had been strung with the smaller meshes at the top - not a common practice!

We were very pleased with today's efforts. The stile ticks all the criteria 'boxes' of being safe, secure, functional, durable and aesthetically pleasing.

This work was funded by National Trust (Hardcastle Crags) and by other donations to CROWS.