Our ongoing maintenance programme covers all the ‘man-made’ aspects of the Common:
We have over 10 miles (17km) of boundary and have to ensure that the entire length is stock-proof to prevent sheep and cattle escaping. The whole boundary is inspected and repaired where necessary before sheep are turned out at the start of the grazing season in late April. Major tasks, such as rebuilding stone walls, are usually completed in the winter months. Regrettably repairs are all too often needed as a result of vandalism to gates, fences or walls.
Tracks and paths
Maintenance is needed to repair damage due to the weather, especially in the car parks where pot holes frequently develop. We make repairs using recycled spoil from geological digs, thus avoiding the import of any ‘foreign’ material.
Occasional work is needed to preserve our Scheduled Monuments, for example, scrub clearance of ‘The Ring’ and regeneration of grass at the Iron Age Hillfort.
Over time the pond at the Washpool becomes silted up, so occasional dredging is needed. The dewpond generally looks after itself, but the fencing round it requires some maintenance. We have also just restored another pond (left) close to the Rising Sun Hotel (behind nos. 1 and 2 Cleeve Hill).
Vehicles and equipment
Not surprisingly, we need a tractor and various items of farm machinery to carry out conservation work; this all has to be looked after. We also have the Ranger pickup and an off-road buggy.
Clearing up litter
An unpleasant and time-consuming task, taking time that would be better spent on conservation work. The photo shows rubbish collected after winter snow melted. Apart from the unsightly nature of litter, it can pose health hazards, cause death or injury to livestock and damage plant life through changing the chemical composition of the ground resulting in a change of species. A major concern is dog mess, especially when put in plastic bags and then discarded on the Common. We have a simple message to dog owners: “if you bag it, bin it!”