Archives for posts with tag: devils punch bowl

Ok, so, roadbuilding is ordinarily definitely not my thing, but this is something a bit different.

Those of you who know Haslemere will also probably know Hindhead and the works that have been going on there over the past few years.

The A3 has for many years bisected a beautifull natural area and for the last few years a tunnel has been under construction, it has taken the road under and around the hill rather than straight over the top. It opened last week, and the old road was closed, I went up yeasterday to take a look and see what the new Hindhead was like.

The effect was dramatic. I remember years ago when I moved to Haslemere reading something about the picturesque village of Hindhead, to be honest, when I arrived I missed it, the place used to be full of traffic, fumes and bad tempers.

But now, the road was empty, people were walking along it, cycling, smiling and generally enjoying the peace. It was transformational, not just as if something was missing, but as if the peace and quiet was bursting out around you.

Soon the old road will dissapeer as it is buried under spoil from the tunnel, this will allow a link to be re established between Hindhead Common and the Devils Punch Bowl, quite something, a wild landscape stretching out from Haslemere towards Thursley and beyond.

I took the above picture sitting by the side of the road, something unthinkable a week ago when this lot would have been thundering past.

In some quarters its been a bit controversial, but I think most people can now see the benefits of removing the road from the landscape. I guess the old road has just become a bit of history, a bit like the old milestone I found by the side of it, I don’t know how many times I have driven along the road and had never noticed it before.

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Matt and I have made a start on our underfloor beams today, its a bit of a challenge and quite a tricky job. The timber came from the nearby Devils Punch Bowl, it was felled in the appropriately named Sawpit Field as part of a project aimed at creating a habitat link for butterflies and other heathland wildlife between the Punchbowl and Highcombe Edge.

This is the timber being loaded for the journey back to Swan Barn farm. As you can see they are not exactly small logs. At over seven metres they are at the limit of what our timber trailer can cope with.

In fact they are too heavy for the crane to lift in one go and had to be lifted off end over end. We brought four of these back to the farm, they are to provide four beams which will support the floor of the Speckled Wood building. They are also over a metre to long to fit on our sawmill (we new that before we bought it, a longer mill was prohibitively expensive and all the other sawn timbers in the build are much smaller) meaning a little bit of inginuity was required to saw the beams.

The plan was to cut the beam out of one end of the log, then move it down the mill and saw out the remainder of the beam. If that sounds simple I can assure you it wasn’t!

After the log was positioned on the mill we made measurements and cut up the length of the mill to the right point.

We then had to knock in wedges to release the trapped blade so it could be backed out of the cut.

Once the sawmill blade was backed out of the cut we had to use a chainsaw to remove the piece of timber we were milling away from the beam.

Once this had been done all around the beam we ended up with the worlds biggest lolipop.

This lollipop was slid back along the mill on rollers so the saw could be brought back in to finish off the far end.

It was a bit nervy milling off the end bits, hoping that all the cuts were going to line up properly and we weren’t going to end up with a wonky beam. But things seemed to be coming together well.

You can see above the point where we just had one final cut to make, by now sighs of relief were starting to be drawn, I definitely fealt like this was quite a big challenge, and was chuffed to bits when the last cut went through and the finished beam came off the bed of the mill.

We have three more of these to make this week, along with the challenge of getting all of the long timbers back to the build site. All in all quite a tricky week. Wish us luck!

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