Wednesday, 9 June 2021


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.