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Monday, 30 January 2012

Path maintenance in New England Wood, Cuckfield

The footfall through New England Wood is reducing the paths to ever wider muddy expanses.  Peter Lyle, above, is new to the work parties and has already made his mark by instigating a new approach to path maintenance.
 As Peter observed, "The paths had become a muddy depression, lower than the surrounding woodland." As a consequence they become waterlogged and hence, muddy.  Peter's solution is to raise the path level and lead the water away by digging ditches next to the path.
 The final refining touches to the path were provided by Carol and Liz, above.  Liz is not to be messed with when she has a sledge hammer in her hands!  Here she is driving retaining stakes into the ground to fix the wooden poles, which retain wood chippings.  She and Carol wheelbarrowed the chippings from another part of the wood.
 There is a potential triple benefit to this work;
  • The raised path is more pleasant to walk on;
  • It will hopefully discourage people from widening paths and destroying the very plants and flowers that we come to enjoy;
  • The ditches may, in themselves, create a new habitat and increase the variety of plants and animals in the wood.
Meanwhile, if you walk in this, or any other wood, please consider to splosh and squelch your way through the mud on the path centre, rather than walk on an ever-widening path edge -- especially at this time of year when the Spring flowers would be damaged as a result.

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