I learned a new word on Thursday. Well to be honest I already knew it and have nodded sagely when it was mentioned in the White Horse discussions, but I only really knew what it meant when I climbed the Horse to see two of the County Rangers, Nick Tarrier and Elliott Green hard at work on the back legs.

They were building the “revetments” – wooden lattice structures to hold the turf in place on those sections below the hind legs where scalpings have bled down over the years to create those awful white scars on the hillside. The structures have a hard edge of green oak where they mark the outline, but the rest is untreated larch which will hold the turf. This larch will rot out over time and leave the turf well established. Clever stuff!

Nick and Elliott had been up there for most of the week, in rain, wind and shine and had made great progress by the time I joined them.  In that time they had also developed a simple system for getting tools up and down the Horse using ropes and Elliott’s redundant mountain board (“much too scary!”) with a fish box screwed on.

Another of their tasks had been to mark the rabbit hole “minefield” with posts and arrows to alert the volunteers due at the weekend. It is, after all, tough enough to work up there without the danger of twisting an ankle in one of the many rabbit residences. And as these are the guys who look after our footpaths, the little arrows were marked Dorset County Council. I suspect that if I could understand rabbit language, I might have learned a few more choice words when the residents returned to see the Council had taken possession!

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