The Muggleswick Gate
On a spring day last April, volunteers from the Land of Oak & Iron woodland team made their way to the wilds of Muggleswick – why you might ask? Well, they were there because Durham County Council had asked if they would like to help work on a project replacing some stiles and gates to improve access on a footpath at the far western edge of the project area.
The volunteers spent the first few days building stile kits and then walking the materials across fields and uphill to where the kits would be installed. Once the materials had been moved to the location, the timber was treated with preservative.
The location was truly inspiring – tea and lunch breaks seemed to take longer than usual as the team took in the stunning scenery around them. On one occasion, the weather was so warm, the teams supply of Penguin biscuits melted!
As the project developed, volunteers from Gateshead Countryside Service and students from Kirkley College got involved too.
Putting in the stiles proved quite a challenge, but the end result has been well worth it. On a recent visit to the area, a walker climbing over one of the stiles, was heard to remark “nice sturdy stile!”
Volunteers also helped Tim Davis of the Durham Wildlife Trust install a hand-made gate made from larch. Tim is a local woodsman and green woodworker. He sourced and processed the timber for the gate from a woodland within the Land of Oak & Iron.
We really hope that in the months to come as the current situation settles, we will be back out at Muggleswick to install a second gate which Tim is working on in his workshop.
Watch this space – we will let you know how the gate is taking shape with regular updates from Tim.
Written by Peter Downes, Access & Woodland Officer, Land of Oak & Iron