Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mesh Fence as Environment

Railway path between West Wickham and Hayes: mesh fence being stripped out
Railway path between West Wickham and Hayes
Between Tiepigs Lane in Hayes and Hawes Lane in West Wickham there is a footpath which runs alongside the railway cutting. Wire mesh fencing encloses the path on the railway side, and part of the other side too. This provides a great support for climbing plants like ivy and bryony, and even such a narrow fence allows all sorts of other plants to grow up around it and through the meshes. These in their turn will be shelter and food for insects and birds.

But last spring, the old fencing along the railway was torn out and replaced by new, taller fenceposts and shiny green mesh. This amounted to the destruction of a whole environment; it was depressing to see the ivy being torn out, rolled up and thrown away. It's not as though the old fencing was in too bad a condition. It was old and saggy, but still in one piece with no signs that anyone had broken through or climbed over it.

Taking down the fence also involved cutting down many shrubs and scrubby small trees that were in the way of the work.

Railway path between West Wickham and Hayes: mesh fence being stripped out

Railway path between West Wickham and Hayes: new mesh fence in place
Railway path between West Wickham and Hayes: new mesh fence in place

The new green fencing looked sterile in comparison with the old overgrown stuff. I was surprised to see that although the new mesh came in rolls, you can't see the joins; the workmen must have done a very good job of linking the sections together.

During the year some new growth has begun to take hold, particularly fast growing plants like brambles and elder. It didn't take long for something, probably foxes, to dig passageways beneath it. The glossy green colour is fading back to silvery white. So the environment will regenerate, but the removal of a whole length at one time, at least half a mile, looked extreme.

The greater height has not stopped people from throwing rubbish over onto the railway land, but today I saw some men clearing that up at one end. If they clean up the whole length, it will be a great improvement.

(Added later:) No, they didn't. They just cleared up at one end

No comments:

Post a Comment