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What do you get if you cross a snake and a hedgehog?……Barbed Wire

September 2, 2010

A post by Becky

SAS

A new never before visited reserve for the squad today – Sovell Down. This chalk downland close to Gussage St. Michael is a north facing slope with typical chalk grassland grasses and flowers and with butterflies such as Marbled Whites and Speckled Browns.  The plan is to bring some of the Shetland cows to the reserve to graze it in order to manage the grassland and help with the diversity. But to do this, some of the fence posts needs replacing….. that’s where we come in.

Despite doing tons of work, John is too modest to let photos be taken

So we started off by dismantling the very old, and often rotten corner posts. These were the ones we were replacing today as they are the most important ones for holding the fence up to keep the cows in. And if we could push them over/ break them in half without much effort then the cows definitely would be able to. And loose cows roaming over north Dorset is not really what we want.

Down with the old posts!

 Next a new hole needed to be dug at each corner for the new bigger posts. It was hard work as the heat from the sun was scorching and the soil was not as soft as the sandy soil at Tadnoll, as the chalk slopes proved a tough opponent.

Digging with the Spoons of Ramacles

 Once some very deep holes had been dug the posts were put in and tampered in and then struts and uprights put in to keep it all in place.

The first notch for the first strut..... on the forth one John finally got the angle right 😛

The barbed wire, round wire, and stock wire were all reattached with staples- some more successfully than others (due to the repositioning of the corner posts some of the wire wasn’t quite long enough). But we worked around it, came up with solutions cos – If it was easy, everyone would do it!

The finest corner post in all the land

 All in all we managed to put in 4 corner posts and with only 2 more to go the fence will soon be ready for the arrival of the cows. Hopefully the cows cope better on the terrain than Becky, who unsurprisingly managed to find 3 holes to fall down!

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