Monday, 23 July 2012

Fencing at Ilam

The Estate Team travelled down from our normal work area of the mountainous Dark Peak, to the more gentle rolling countryside of our White Peak friends; driving through picturesque rolling limestone grasslands and scenic wooded valleys.


Before

Our task was to take down a parkland metal fence situated in Ilam Park and move it to a new location alongside the river Manifold, the fence was situated along the footpath called paradise walk, aptly named as it takes you through the bottom end of the beautiful Manifold Valley.

About 20 metres upstream from the boil holes which cause a constant relaxing gurgling and slurping as the water bubbles up from its underground lair. The sound of water moving is so therapeutic and calming, added to by the gentle fall of summer raindrops onto the surface of the river adding a another musical accompaniment to an already idyllic place.

The triangular area of grass enclosed within the fence was adjacent to the ha ha wall, situated at the end of target meadow; so named because it was the site of a shooting range and also used for archery which is now gently grazed by contented sheep.


During

The reason the National Trust wanted to change the fence line was to open up the vista as people walked along the path and to restore the 19th century scene. This was also the reason the ha ha wall was built, so only nature’s artistry is visible.

The team first had the difficult task of taking out the cemented posts from the original site.
The 6 metre rods were held in place by allen key grub screws which were removed and then the rods slid out and were placed carefully on the ground to be re-used later on. The posts were removed using 6 foot bars which are used to break up the concrete, before pulling them out. When the full length of fencing had been taken down the pieces were carried across to the bank of the river.

The team then had to dig new holes every metre along the fence line. The supporting posts through which the 6 metre rods were secured then had to be set in concrete. Concrete was used so that the posts were secure and anyone leaning or climbing on the rods would otherwise end up in the river. Each post had to be set in perfect alignment and at the same height or else the rods would not slide through the holes. Getting each post level and set was very time consuming.


After

The rods were then slid through the holes on the posts and tightened in place. The hole around the support posts was filled in by soil and grass turfs to hide the concrete because of the new position of the fence. Extra materials were needed and the new sections we installed were galvanised but not painted so the silver rods shimmer in the sun but will be painted black in the coming weeks.

The open grass space can also now be accessed by the public and gives additional picnic space for visitors to this wonderful place.

Also, thank you to HF Holidays local committee who gave us a grant to purchase the new fencing and made it all possible.

Steven Lindop
Estate Team Supervisor

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