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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Fixing Cleatlam and Winston Stiles

cross on cleatlam village green

This is nothing to do with anybody called Winston Stiles, although it’s quite a good name for a character in a novel, I would have thought. No.

This is more to do with making a right of way which leaves Cleatlam in Teesdale and goes across a shallow but ancient ditch marking the parish boundary into the parish of Winston. One stile had barbed wire along the top and was falling to bits and the other had already fallen to bits.

the pup

Eight of us – four paid County Council staff and four  DVCRS volunteers, met a small dog in Cleatlam and poddled off through a muddy field to get to the offending structures.

The little dog – just a pup, really, gave a yelp at the first stile and ran off back home, being chased by a local horse. A bit odd….   till we discovered that one of the strands on the fence – a bit rusty and quite old, was electrified and was putting a jolt out every two or three seconds or so. Many of us felt the benefit of this bonus to our levels of alertness.

stile 1 before stile 2 before

Stiles 1 and 2 – Before….


The short version of this tale has us digging holes, putting in new posts and footboards and finishing off the job with some waymarker thingies. Stile 2 had a bit of new fencing and some wire to make it lamb-proof.

The stile 1 working party had a small crowd of horses which came to investigate every now and then.

stile 2 during (lunch) stile 2 during

Stiles 2 and 1 During renovation (and lunch)

It was a nice day. I hope the locals in Cleatlam will enjoy being able to follow this path without ripping their naughty parts on the fences or falling off the dereliction.

stile 1 after stile 2 after

Stiles 1 and 2 Complete


finishing touch


Alan Sloman said...

Well done fella. I had often wondered who did all the work on the styles. I had always assumed it was the farmer's responsibility.
D'ya want to come down here and sort a few out around these parts? There are some strange contraptions hereabouts that i still have not managed to fathom.

I have photogtaphs...

Mike Knipe said...

It is indeed the landwoner's responsibility to maintain stiles, Alan. Legally,County Councils can step in and do the work which is often a pragmatic solution. The farmers concerned agreed to DCC doing the work and will be sent a bill.

Jules said...

I think I may have mentioned before that here in Northants we work a similar scheme to that of your area, with volunteer path wardens (like me) and various levels of voluntary involvement. As I'm in full-time work I only do a checking/reporting role, but you can do more if you have the time or enthusiasm to do so.

The new stiles look so much better, and no need for anybody to stuggle to get over/past them.

Mike Knipe said...

I'm only a lightweight at the stile thing, Jules. My role is much more like yours - I have a dozen+ paths to walk twicea year and report any problems. I can do a bit of light clipping with the secateurs, but otherwise, its down to the Council.
Some volunteers do quite a lot, though and are expert stile builders - and there's a significant cash value to their contribution.