Trustees undertake Brushcutter Training

Brushcutter training - Clive Cook, Bruce Graham and Mike Collis

Bright and early on Wednesday 10 October 2018 three of The Watercress Way trustees attended a day long course in the safe and efficient use of a brushcutter.

We previously had purchased one brushcutter which we have used for maintaining the path under the skilled use by trustee Jim Thompson.

We are very grateful to the South Downs National Park who have increased our number of brushcutters to 3 as well as providing a variety of supplementary equipment like harnesses, hard hats and warning signs.

In addition, they paid for 3 of our trustees – Clive Cook, Bruce Graham and Mike Collis – to be trained in their use.

Under the expert guidance of trainer, Craig Ireland, we spent a useful day in gaining our Lantra accreditation.

We covered Health and Safety aspects including legislation and requirements for risk assessment and safe working.

Then we got “hands on” with the brushcutters learning how to remove and replace the various cutting heads, refuelling and general maintenance.

Our brushcutters have 3 modes of action: strimming, cutting and shredding – each with its own special blades and guards.

After a short lunch of packed sandwiches and liquid refreshments, we made our way to our cars to drive the short distance to Shawford Down.

As we left, in the clear blue sky we spotted a honey buzzard, identifiable as having a much paler plumage and larger than a common buzzard with a call less eerie but no less penetrating, being mobbed by a gang of crows.

At Shawford Down HCC countryside workers were working to improve the site.

Bruce strimming at Shawford Down

Bruce strimming at Shawford Down

They requested us to strim some of the long grass beside the paths and also to tackle an area of brambles engulfing a fence they need to replace.

We used our 3 brushcutters, each with a different type of blade. Craig instructed us in their safe and efficient use and we proceeded to “get stuck in”.

Firstly, removing grass and light vegetation alongside the path using the strimmer attachment.

Then to the more challenging work clearing the brambles using the cutting blade and the shredder blade.

It was a warm afternoon and we all knew we had done some hard work.

The last of the seasons Brimstone and Speckled Wood butterflies took flight in the sunlight illuminating the small clearings around us as we worked.

We succeeded in clearing a strip a metre wide on both sides of the fence which will be of great help to HCC.

Now we have 4 officially trained and accredited brushcutter users we will be able to do a lot more maintenance work on The Watercress Way.

Look out on the website for dates of our volunteering sessions.

Our next one will be on Sunday 21 October at 2pm at Worthy Down Halt.

Please let me know at info@thewatercressway.org.uk if you plan to come.

Mike Collis, Secretary,
The Watercress Way

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