Spending time building a fence

Yes, it has been an interesting few months doing this. I decided to build a post and rail fence using heritage plans. Really I should have guessed when Grantley Sawmills, who were extremely helpful, delivered the timber. “You have your work cut out there” was the truthful comment. I knew I did but just how much was unexpected. If the land I have been building it on was just normal soil and clay then that would be hard enough. Instead the paddock is a few miles below Brimham Rocks which has its roots within the ice age. The gritstone rocks were carried in a huge river 100 million years before the first dinosaurs. They were then sculpted through 320 million years of ice and the landmass moving into the continents we see today. That means the area is scattered with large and small versions, the paddock is no exception.

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Some manual tools used to dig through the layers of soil and rocks
I bought quite a number of high quality tools in order to complete the fence. The whole point was the post and rails were to replace the electric fence. This will make beekeeping easier as I will not have the upkeep associated with cutting grass down and replacing batteries that the standard electric fence has. Equally an the electric fence once electrocuted a stuck hedgehog and for this I will never forgive myself, so it HAS to come down.

The tools I bought are an investment as, depending on how the creation of this fence went, it means I can build them in the future. I remember the mad quote I received when installing a post and rail fence around the allotment. It was ridiculous, so I want for a mesh one. Now I have quite a number of tools for that design too so should be able to make one of those if needed. One aspect of post installing that became very clear is that using a hand held post rammer was a no no. I had bought one and could still use it one day but the first post that went in was a disaster. This was due to use the said rammer and the post, which are oversize for the job, just split once it hit the first rock. It made me aware that the power drivers that may have been used for the contracted fence may have driven the post into rocks. This is not a good match as the end result can only be a split post. This will not be seen above the ground.

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A power driver used at Grimwith reservoir near Grassington
I must admit that when my digging of the first post started, after deciding against the rammer, it was a shock. The amount and size of the stones was incredible. They were in layers and if I had not had an industrial prying bar then it would be impossible. Even with the bar it was hard going. Once the hole was dug then it was levelling and then tamping the soil. The posts are in the ground more than they really have to be. That is apart from one as I could not remove the huge rock that sat under it. When I say huge, I mean massive. It has taken me months, not of continuous work, but gradual step by step digging. A professional company would build the fence in a couple of days. The only issue with this is that the cost is not what I wanted to pay and the lack of satisfaction that would come with such an option. 

It does not look much but digging was hard. Those posts are in deep and some of the excavated piles of rocks can be seen
One can see the electric fence at the other side of the post and rail. Also the line that has been used to try keep the fence true
I still have not completed the fence. I’ve not been at the paddockon a Saturday as I am at home busy and the weather has scuppered quite a few attempts. In general though it has been just the joy of it that has made it worthwhile. The gate was interesting and a great learning experience. My father helped with the hanging aspect. I have a full fangs of new Makita tools so making the holes and bolting was easy (once we knew how the new type of hanging worked) I also took photographs of other gates to enable more understanding. The gate posts were mighty near 2 metre pieces of wood. Digging and levelling them was a top task. It took some doing but once in should last years. All in all, once completed I will have to try another place to build a fence as it can be addictive. I am so glad I have not paid anybody. BTW if you need a fence installing don’t ask me as I will still be at it months later!

Setting the gate posts and gate level
“Can I help?”
Benji had enough that day and here he is sat waiting to go

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