Dawlish green road clearing 192-199
Pops + I went down for a peep at this amazing green road down Dawlish on Sunday. As Ray Tribe points out “Just for a look” well that never really happens in Pop’s world, as he likes to get stuck in rather than chat about the job!
So we took a few bits of gear, well a lot of gear actually Ha-ha!!
“ Not to mention the addition of sealskinz socks for Pops ;) “
What a nice day, wall-to-wall sunshine, nearly 20 degrees by the time we set off from home it was probably exceeding that temp. I knew it was shady on site plus a tad boggy so we got Pops kitted out with his work boots, plus the addition of waterproof sealskins (by heck we needed them socks) for the journey ahead was going to be FUN!
Parked up on the Eastern end where there was plenty of terra firma, carried the kit down to the unmetalled section, although before we got there we encountered the natives in their front gardens, sun was out, it’s a Sunday, what else would you be doing on such a beautiful day?
Lane clearing…. HaHa!!
First chap we bumped into is Tony living on the corner house, Said Hello! As I always do to everyone, things progressed form here on into a full blown chat about what was occurring with all the gear, well how can you hide, spades, forks, signs, chainsaw, Etc.…After about five minutes of chatting Tony was amazed at the volunteer work we were about to tackle, So much so he took us off further down the tarmac to meet + greet Nick who lives in the 500 year old house down next to the entrance of the great lane we love to ride! Explained everything again to Nick about what we planned to do on the green road and how we were going to sort some of the problems out along its length.
All sorted with the locals on the ‘Plan’ (Loose one at that) we headed in to the overgrown stuff, we wondered all the way through found the dead Elm plus a few Laurel overhanging in places, throw in a few Hazel limbs to clear to, wow, going to be busy then Beys!!
Lurking to one side of the road a man was caught in the boggy section heading our way, only had trainers on or shoes, whilst looking for a dry island to step on, we guided him through the bog, but it was inevitable the shoes were going to be submerged into the gloop!
Once our first good deed was completed we turned our attention to the footbridge spanning the stream, loads of debris caught up underneath and around the uprights of the bridge. Took some time to clear the branches/twigs but its completed, although there is a tree on the higher side of the bridge floating in the deep pool, root ball an all still attached! (Winch Job for another day)
Preceded to the other side of the bridge to start our ascent up the road with its flint, rocky surface I wondered how Pops was going to tackle the terrain?? Aided with a folding canvas sign as his walking stick he coped admirably without complaint nor worry of the site ahead! Bloody BIG Oak across the width of the green road, fallen form the right side and perfectly wedged on the left bank, only leaving limbs hanging down into the road.
We stopped to admire the tree with its 2-½ foot girth, splendid specimen in his youth really, shame to see, but he become unearthed as the bank erosion played a part in its demise. I trundled up through further to erect the sign, you know just in case there was passing traffic approaching, they would have been warned of our presence although you had to stop for the tight squeeze to pass the Oak.
Prized Pops form his resting position where I saw him perched on the bank taking in some much needed water, we discussed a strategy on removing the lower limbs of the tree, with plenty of dead ivy (cut previously) hanging around underneath it was decided to clear the trip hazard before starting on the main objective. So clearing and stuffing small branches into the side of the road amongst other holly branches growing into the lanes width, we eventually got to the main event of sawing Oak limbs hanging down, probably about 2 foot or slightly less in diameter, not to bad to tackle.
Checking for tension and compression as a few were bearing down on the opposite bank we managed to clear some pretty hefty lumps, remember this is Oak, one of the best for burning, but bloody hell one of the heaviest in the business, with this in mind we stood cut pieces upright to the sides of the green road. The large main trunk is still in position, arched right over the road, stable in its position, with no fear of the Oak moving but a good clearance height achieved so we left the beast where he lay whilst we retreated back down the road for further assessment of other tasks on the work sheet
Over the bridge through the bog (thank god for sealskins socks said Pops) worked our way through some of the overgrown foliage to encounter the fallen dead Elm perched again on either side of the bank, making a lovely height barrier, looking fairly level too, short discussion, plan hatched Elm cut job done! Moved on to the Laurel branches, these were fighting their way across the lanes width with not much room for a mounted rider to pass unhindered
We soon dispatched these smaller limbs of Laurel but one caught our eye as it was propped by another cut limb nicely placed underneath and custom made for the job, I liked it, so I said to Pops we’ll cut it off just past the prop and leave it standing as I like the character. Well bugger me if the prop didn’t fall out flat to the ground once I had released the weight of the Limb! Bit of a Laurel + Hardy moment which made Pops laugh spontaneously! Then I joined in chuckling after resting the saw to the ground, good god thank heavens no one else was watching LOL (one of those had to be there moments)
A few more Hazel branches were fairly quickly despatched along the green road, only leaving a fairly hefty hair cut for the rest of the road one day soon I hope.
Winching out the entire tree floating in the stream or leaving it tied up to support the side of the river/stream bank, in talks with PRoW on a few additions/ideas for the future, including a raised walk way through the boggy section or the alternative is the dreaded SANITISATION program he’s talking about…. oh Gawd!! Not another!
Anyways lets see how talks go before getting down hearted, PRoW warden has insisted the Large Oak has to go! Okay I understand that but take it form me its safe for the moment, no guarantees though HaHa!!
We headed home after about 3.5 hours toiling in a great lane with an extremely nice gent! (I’m biases’)
Spoke to the locals again on the way up the tarmac road, couldn’t sneak by apparently but then pops was ‘resting up’ before the incline back to the car.
Nick has offered us a parking space in his back yard for next time when we visit this location again; don’t think I’ll be able to stretch my luck to ask him to chip in for volunteer work J
The Anchor inn provided much needed fluid or rehydration for thirsty workers – just the one!
Swiftly downed half of his pint did Pops but supped the rest once his thirst was quashed, another was on the cards but wisdom soon kicked in with the thought of another after dinner later on in the evening!
Stay safe fellow trail riders