I can’t help but be impressed by the collective effort going into this! Saturday’s hard graft with the all-singing, all-working Army Cadet Force teams (what a brilliant set of kids and officers) was followed by yesterday’s appearance of a Sea King helicopter that plucked 10 builders bags full of stone scalpings from the hillside. Sgt Major Cowburn from Chickerell Training Camp supervised fresh teams of cadets to ready the loads for lifting. Then in clouds of dust Commando Helicopter Force, ground crew and air crew, got on with the operation as part of their training.

Majors Ian Drummond and John Bradshaw visit the site as time allows, conveying professionalism and confidence in equal measure, undoubtedly proud of their charges.

Chris Bird, Teresa Seall and her husband Michael were on hand producing a photographic record of what’s happening. They bring a local dynamic to the project (look at this excellent website) that is so welcome.

My colleague Steve Wallis, Senior Archaeologist at Dorset County Council, casts his expert eye to ensure we are doing everything that we should be doing on a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Across the valley the landowner Mr Critchell assisted at the drop-off zone receiving the helicopter loads. Without his help and co-operation this wouldn’t be happening at all.

But things are happening thanks to the efforts of an awful lot of people working together. There is still a very long way to go with this, the second phase of the project, with tonnes of scalpings remaining on the figure awaiting removal. Chris’s analogy from Saturday, as we swept the scalpings downslope, was that it was like rolling up a carpet, uncovering what lies beneath while getting heavier and more burdensome as we go.

But, after years of trying, things have started at last!

John Hayes
Senior Ranger
Dorset Countryside Coastal Ranger Team
The Barracks, Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 1RN
Tel: 01305 756790