Bridleway St John (Without) 8 (Spooners Farm) off Chiltington Lane, East Chiltington

Spooners Farm Clearance Clearence 29.11.15 one Clearence 29.11.15 two
November 29th 2015
By Jayne Block
On the last blustery Sunday of November, eleven ladies descended on the Spooners Farm Bridle Path in East Chiltington (St John (Withoput) 8) armed with some scary looking equipment. Being newbies we forgot to take ‘before’ pictures, which is a shame as the transformation was quite noticeable. Instead we dove straight in, splitting loosely into four groups; two at each end, two in the middle, each hacking away at a separate section and working towards each other.
The path was very overgrown with brambles, ferns and trees. The lower growth was restricting horses to one narrow path which was becoming very boggy, and the spiky branches of the trees were reaching out at eye level over the path. There were several pinch points which some ponies may have refused to push through. Calls of ‘does anyone have the slasher?’ were frequently heard.
Although we had set aside 3 hours to work, one and a half hours was all we needed to make a significant improvement, and was probably as much heavy work as we could manage anyway.
It was immensely satisfying on many levels. Firstly that so many people turned out – not just from local yards but also stalwarts such as Hilary Pierce and Jane Walsh. But also because the path has been transformed from inhospitable to accessible. It is a lovely ride down through Warningore Woods and to the Downs, and equally returning, galloping up the chalky path.
Unfortunately Sue Coote was unable to lead us as planned, due to being carted off to hospital with a severe back problem. Nevertheless she was determined to direct us from her sick bed, ensuring we had all the right tools, first aid boxes, gloves and other essential bits of kit. We send her our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Thanks to Trish Cook for letting us park at Spooners Farm to unload the equipment near the clearance.
Mostly thanks to the ladies generously gave their time and energy. All the thrashing and slashing was worth it!
Thank you to Rebecca Bennett, Lynn Brown, Marina Bury, Carol Collett, Sue Coote, Wendy Fleet, Tricia Leitensdorfer, Tracy McCormick, Liz Ortac, Hilary Pierce and Jane Walsh
Serious equipment. Serious fun. And we won the Davis Cup 🙂

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