Project report for stile replacement at Witheridge Hill and Stoke Row | Oxfordshire County Council

Project report for stile replacement at Witheridge Hill and Stoke Row

Summary project report by the Chiltern Society South Chilterns Path Maintenance Volunteers

volunteers installing gate (c) Howard Dell

What were your project objectives? 

To open up to greater public access a highly attractive “Chiltern Bottom”. The stile free path connects with other stile free routes and create a link to a stile free route from Henley to Nuffield.

What work was carried out for this project?

The removal of 10 hazardous stiles and their replacement with gates. Two further stiles are still to be replaced.

One site demanded considerable in-fill of hardcore to reduce the mud nuisance created by cattle near the old stile; others required less demanding groundwork. Most sites needed clearance of hedging and/or brambles. Farm fencing had to be re-instated or improved after each gate installation.

This Project entailed close working with two farmers and 4 landowners. We were supported by our partners Highmoor PC and Stoke Row PC in the purchase of the gates. The precise positioning of the gates plus general approval was cleared with the County Field Officer before work began.

The gates were matched to individual requirements taking into account land ownership and management, e.g. stock containment.

What went well?

The project went well for the installation of 10 of the 12 gates despite adverse weather conditions. Co-operation of the principal farmer allowed us to store some gates and timber on site. No problems were encountered working with cattle in the same fields as the volunteers.

268 volunteer hours have so far been spent on site plus a similar amount of time in administration, consultation and surveys.

£3,600 has been spent on the project which includes gates yet to be installed.

Could anything have been improved or done differently?

A hold up continues with the removal of the final two stiles. There is agreement between all parties on the stiles being removed but there is a dispute between land managers about which gates are to be installed. Attempts continue to persuade the parties to come to an amicable conclusion.

Do you have any suggestions that might help other organisations doing access projects and seeking funding?

Discuss with and get the support of the parish councils on Projects such as this.

Unusually, two of the farms crossed in this project have modern wire fences tensioned to a very high level. This required the volunteer team to acquaint themselves with working to a higher skill level than is required on most farm fencing, plus the purchase of a higher quality wire tensioning tool.

Last reviewed
15 August 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback