If you’ve been to Boscastle over the past fortnight you may have heard what sounded like a gong ringing down from the hills above. No, it’s not the herald of the end of the world but instead the Boscastle to Morwenstow ranger team and our community volunteers bashing in new posts at Forrabury Stitches!
Those of you who have had the opportunity in the past to walk up around Forrabury may have noticed that the existing fence line is falling apart and that the path itself is pretty churned up. The cause of both of these problems is the same: cattle. Over winter, cattle are set loose to graze across the Stitches and, a combination of wet weather and the pesky cows trying to go where they shouldn’t (mainly on the path and beyond it!), has caused the fence line to deteriorate and the path to become a boggy mess.
The Ranger team has then leapt into action prepping to replace around 600 meters of fence. As a Ranger Day was quickly approaching, it was decided to focus on one of the sections in greater need of attention and so, the section was prepped by digging in 8 straining or turning posts, and driving in approximately 50 intermediate posts over a 250m stretch of path. This time however, the posts were placed above the path so as to prevent cattle from getting onto the path in the future.
Our Ranger Day came on Sunday 24th April and the eight committed individuals diligently cleared scrub back from the path, re-dug sections of path where it had become excessively churned, re-graded steps, drove in posts, began attaching sections of barbed wire to the fence, and started creating squeeze gaps so that walkers can get on and off the path but no cattle can!
The Rangers then returned earlier this week to finish off putting barbed wire on the section. While the original fence only had the one strand, the new fence line has two in order to deter any curious cattle from getting to the other side, amounting to around 500m of wire put up in this section alone! We also put up another two squeeze gaps, the one soon to have a bracket holding a removable rail so that while we can keep cattle out when we need to, we can also get a mower through on to the path when it needs grass cutting.
As such our work isn’t done yet, and so we will return to Forrabury to finish off this first section before moving on to the rest of the fence line that needs replacing. Quite a bit of work but ultimately rewarded as you can get some stunning views while sitting down to have your lunch.
If you’re reading this with a sense of “Oh I wish I had gone along to that Ranger Day!”, do not fret for you’re in luck! The next Ranger Day will be on:
Tuesday 3rd May
Cambeak near Crackington Haven to tackle some erosion problems as well as restoring our footpaths there. If you would like to join us, we will be meeting at the Strangles car park (Grid ref: SX134950) EX23 0LG. The days are from 10am to 4pm although do feel free to leave earlier is necessary. Please bring clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy as well as sturdy footwear, and of course food and drink for the day. Feel free to contact us beforehand on 01288 331372 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Boscastle to Morwenstow Ranger team