Our previous posts have shown some coppicing work at One Tree Hill and peeling of sweet chestnut posts and rails. This week has seen the culmination of all this hard work, with the replacement of the fence at Coldrum – below I’ve included a selection of photos of the finished article. It has been a fairly long road just to get to the start of the project, not only with the selction and processing of the material but with securing the relevant consent from Historic England to work on this Scheduled Ancient Monument.
We worked at Coldrum all last week with the help of our dedicated volunteers – some turning out on two, three or even four days to assist us. For the first two days we were removing the old posts and rails and putting in new posts. Usually a straight forward task, but we needed an archaeologist present to inspect the spoil and look at the holes. In addition, to prevent excessive ground disturbance, the old posts had to be lifted directly from the ground without digging initially – not an easy task with partially rotten hardwood posts that have been in the ground for twelve years. To aid us we used an engine hoist that some of you DIY mechanics may be familiar with. This lump took four people to lift and maneuver around the site, but worked beautifully to lift the posts in one piece from the ground. Once the old posts were out, the archaeologist inspected the holes before we widended them slightly, dropped in new chestnut posts and tamped to secure them.
After two days of this we switched to the carpentry work, attaching the rails to the posts. This took some real carving skill with a chainsaw to ensure the joints were correct, but Richard was more than up to the task. The rails were then screwed to the posts, rather than nailed like the old fence – some visitors had a habit of kicking the old rails off and using them to start fires….
Lastly we replaced the stiles and erected new posts for the classic Omega signs – a nice touch I thought using our own Petts Wood oak again. This was a great project to be involved with from start to finish, a real cradle to grave job (to steal Richard’s phrase). Having selected, cut and processed our own NT material, through to installing the final product, we’ve ensured this special site should be welcoming visitors and remain protected for another twelve years.