During the past few weeks some of our volunteers have been helping with the dismantling of some old water gates. These were part of a small deer exclosure that was in the Holly Gill/Broomy Gutter area of the site (follow this link for a map of the site - the area is roughly in the middle)
Most of the old fenceline was removed but the watergates were left as a relict of what stood. It was decided that it was time for them to dismantled - a perfect summer job for volunteers.
We had 3 to tackle as well as a number of old bits and bobs of fence material and posts that we found. We began the long task of removing as much metal work from the wood as possible - cue hours of staple, nail and wire removal. But it was worthwhile as it meant we removed 3 full bags and a number of small rolls of wire.
We saved any lengths of wood that would be re-usable and we had a small fire to get rid of the rest. As a rule we do not allow any fires at Wildwood - there is not only the concern of them causing a wildfire (and believe it or not it's been a scorcher of late!) but it's also the damage that they can do to the flora and soil beneath.
Therefore for our fire site we chose an area of loose stone next to the river. We used a metal sheet to burn on and used rocks to raise this off the ground. We kept the fire small and within the confines of the sheet and then, once cooled, we were able to scrape off any ash and bits of metal we couldn't remove and take these away. Overall a great success with only a few areas of minor scorching.
We used a chainsaw on the larger sections of the water gates and chopped these up and took them away on the quad bike. Most of these have been treated with tar and chemicals so not really the kind of thing to be left behind.
We have a couple of final hours tidying up to do but overall a great job done with a great outcome - all helps to make the place feel that little bit wilder.