Record of my work experience with Exmoor National Park

Work experience

Second day of work experience today and we set out first thing with two tickets to remove old rotten gate posts and replace them with new ones.

The first gate post was tricky to remove, we had to dig round it to quite a depth
Fence post

Once we had dug down we tried using a jack to lift the post
Jacking the fence post out

The post was not lifting, so more digging had to be done to get down lower. Eventually it was discovered that when the post had been put in a length of wood had been attached to the bottom horizontally to prevent it from lifting out, we had to rock the post until it came free from the wood at the bottom and then we were able to jack it out.

Gate post removed

We then fitted the new post into the whole and packed it out with rocks and earth to secure it.

Fitting the new gatepost

Once the earth was filled in we drilled holes to fit the hangers to the post that the gate would be hung on. Then we could screw in the hangers ready to take the gate.

attaching hanger

The last part of the job was to re-attach or replace the rails from the edge of the field to the gatepost, many of these were rotten and needed replacing so we used the saw to cut them to length and then nailed them into place. Finally the signpost was nailed back onto the rails for people following the footpath.

Re-fitting signpost

Once this job was complete we packed the tools away and lifted the old rotten gatepost into the trailer for disposal later.

This was my office for this morning:

We then moved on to the next job, which was very much the same. The removal of the post was more difficult as it was attached with barbed wire and fencing wire.

Second gate post

A special set of pliers were used to remove the staples that had been used to attach the wire. We then had to carefully remove the rails that were attached to the gate post using a claw hammer to pull them gently away from the post and not damage them as they would have to be re-fitted to the new post.

Once we had dug out the various stones that had been used to support the old gatepost, we were able to pull it free from the ground.

The hole needed to be increased in depth, so a pair of “clappers” (post hole diggers) were used to remove excess soil, combined with a shovel to loosen any stones.


Once the hole was deep enough, we dropped the new post into place and again filled in with stones and earth to secure the post firmly in place, making sure it was straight and level.

We then drilled holes for the hangers as before and fitted the top hanger in the same way. The bottom hanger was simply driven in with a sledge hammer.

Hangers fitted

After this job we headed back to base for lunch, completion of tickets and to pick up some more tickets for the afternoons work.

After lunch we made our way back out to repair some gates on footpaths across the moor, this involved some amazing scenery again.

View from the land rover:
Outdoor office

We had to replace a broken hanger on the bottom of a gate, this involved removing the old hanger and then fitting a new one. The one removed was a “hammer in” type and we drilled the hole right through so we could fit a stronger hanger with a bolt on the back. This was done and the gate re-hung.

Gate re-hung

Then we had to fit a spring to a gate to make it close automatically as there had been a complaint from a land owner that people were leaving the gate open, despite clear signage asking that the gate be shut after use.
This was achieved with a twist-spring attached to the gate and the post at the hinge side and we soon had the gate closing by itself which should resolve issues where it was just left by people.

That was the last job of the day and we made our way back to base to hand in the tickets and finish for the day.

Some views whilst out on the jobs

Misty hills

River valley


  1. 26th September 2013    

    All looks rather interesting. Do you do work experience that helps the older generation, rather than rich farmers? I’m not one myself, but it would be great to know that happened as well.

    • 26th September 2013    

      I currently do work experience for Exmoor National Parks, this is part of the college course that I am studying in Countryside Management. The work I am assisting with on the moor benefits everyone who uses Exmoor for whatever purposes 🙂

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