Fencing training – en garde! 1

OCV do a lot of fencing. For our clients this is vital work ensuring the safety of their livestock used to maintain important habitats. Take a walk round Raleigh Park in Oxford and you’ll see the efforts of our labour.

It is a technically demanding and rewarding task, from the physical slog of digging holes and banging in posts, to the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out how to get monkey strainers off a wire (a test too fiendish even for ‘The Krypton Factor’).

To further hone our skills and learn some new ones on the 12th May a few of us went to Aston Rowant NNR joining their volunteer group for a day’s training with a contractor. It was much appreciated to get advice and tricks of the trade from a professional as well as confirmation that how we do things is right!

The aim was to put up a length of fence with three straining posts, one with conventional struts, one with a full and one with half box struts as a demonstration. Lots of digging, tamping, drivelling and straining ensued. Fortunately the weather was kind (well until we were just about to call it a day – Mother Nature knows best) and showed this beautiful reserve in all its glory.

No end in sight! Intermediate posts laid out ready

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A few of the points of interest from the day:

Don’t damage the zinc coating of the wire or staples or the rust will set in!

Straining posts can lean and ideally should do so to oppose the tension in the wire.

The wire knot: Correct way to attach wire to a straining post (round, over, back through and round four times).

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Gripple – worth grappling with! A union which with the appropriate tool can also be used for tensioning.

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Half box strut: Smaller post dug (or ideally banged in), braced with a cross beam and wire. Stronger than a conventional strut, ideal for weak or boggy ground (very nearly a stile).

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Finally – even the professionals can bite off more than they can chew, we only got half way!

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