Back in January I (Rob Taylor, Ranger for Sector F covering NW Dartmoor) met Gordon Guest, a disabled Tramper user, on the Granite Way to look at some suitable tramper routes that could be extended off the Granite Way. Gordon surveys routes for Countryside Mobility, who then advertise and insure the use of a tramper on these routes for members of the public who hire then through local outlets such as Devon Cycle Hire, Sourton. On the walk Gordon identified a route improvement off the Granite Way leading down to the Bearslake Inn, which involved widening a foot bridge to allow the tramper to get safely across without getting too close to the edge.
With this in mind, and knowing that it would take more then a few screws and a bit of wood, i.e. some proper craftsman like work, I asked Andy Cribbett, the Dartmoor National park Authority’s Stonemason, to come and help with the job in mid-March.
What was needed was a tidy up, extension and stone facing of a buttress on one side of the bridge in order to accommodate an extra beam. Andy set about this by knocking excess concrete off the existing end using the Kango, while I found some suitable stones for the facing and readied the opposite end of the bridge for the extra beam. Andy then proceeded to build up a buttress using new concrete and stone to face the outer edge.
Once this was done the beam was lifted in place, a batten edging nailed onto it, and a non slip weld mesh surface stapled onto the top to finish off. By the following morning the concrete had set hard, and the new extended bridge was ready to be tested.
I had arranged to meet up with Gordon Guest and James Maben from Countryside Mobility the following week. As well as discussing and testing out a further couple of new routes, we popped down to the Bearslake Inn to have a look at the bridge. I am pleased to say that both Gordon and James felt that the bridge was a big improvement, and as a result the route to the pub for much needed refreshment will be advertised and insured for those that use the route with their own tramper or hired from Devon Cycle Hire.
Many thanks to Andy for lending his considerable skills to this job, especially for the endless questioning he faced from me regarding the differences in mixing aggregate levels between concrete, cement etc. Well, when you’re working with the Master of Mixing, you’ve got to get the questions answered, haven’t you?
Rob Taylor, Dartmoor National Park Ranger, Sector F