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Building Bridges and Plank-Surfing

June 11, 2008

13 volunteers armed with tools, endless planks of wood, 2 telegraph poles – all supposedly to make a bridge, but would it stay up?

Our task for the day was to construct a bridge at the Tadnoll Reserve, as part of the wetland restoration work. The bridge would connect the meadows with the woodland area and encourage visitors to enjoy the reserve, whilst keeping to the paths (so as not to trample on anything). None of us had ever built a bridge before, so it was going to be an interesting day! There were plenty of willing hands to help today as we had the V-Team of Alison, Georgie, Katherine, Kerry-Ann, Lisa and Lucie along with Noel and Steve, plus the two East Dorset wardens, Sam and Mike, Sarah (our wetland specialist) Karen who was joining us today as part of her work placement and last but not least, another volunteer whose name we really can’t remember (sorry!).

First of all, once the trailer had been unloaded, we had the fun task of sawing all the planks of wood to the right length – 150cm so we were told. That took us quite a while, especially as some of us weren’t experienced with saws. And then we were told the planks actually needed to be 110cm, not 150cm – so lots more sawing again!

When everyone was satisfied that the planks were the right length we then had to put the telegraph poles into place and they would form the basic frame of the bridge. They were really heavy, even with everyone helping out. That’s one thing about volunteering with the Dorset Wildlife Trust, it gives you muscles! Once they were in place we could then start nailing the planks on. We did have a slight problem with getting the poles even, but a few handfuls of soil soon put that right!

Nailing the planks on sounded simple enough but you have to remember that below us was a ditch full of nice, stinking mud – not something we really wanted to fall into, although Georgie did come very close to it! What she thought was a safe plank to stand on was actually only nailed in on one side and so it partly flipped up, “like plank-surfing”, according to Georgie. The rest of us were quite happy to give that a miss! We were busy laughing at the noise the nails made when we banged them in – like a giant xylophone (we’re easily amused!).

Anyway, we did eventually get all of the planks secured and then came the moment of truth – would our bridge be strong enough for us to all walk across? As you can see from the picture, it was. Not bad for our first ever bridge.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2008 7:00 pm

    Great pictures and the post seems to sum up your day “bridge building” brilliantly. Really enjoyed reading it… I will be passing on your blog address to other friendly bloggers! Did the bridge break after the picture was taken??? (only joking!) Jane

  2. July 9, 2008 8:55 pm

    Thanks for the comment Jane – the team will be chuffed to read your thoughts about the post.

    The bridge held up fine – but you’ll see that none of the guys were willing to give it a go, or is it just that they are photo-shy?!

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