OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW GENERATION OF HAMPTON FENCING SYSTEMS FOR HARTING DOWN, NATIONAL TRUST

Situated within the South Downs National Park, Harting Down is one of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland cared for by the National Trust.

A glorious mix of countryside, wood and downland with extensive views over the Western Weald to the North Downs and south to the Solent and Isle of Wight.

Tasked with updating vast stretches of boundary and perimeter fencing and replacing lines of rotten wooden posts at Harting Down, Calum Summers, National Trust Area Ranger and Ed Mitchell, Farm Manager contacted Hampton Steel for information and samples of their Versalok® intermediate metal posts, metal box and intermediate strainer systems.

‘‘The existing wooden posts had completely rotted after just 7 years, we tested various metal posts on the market to ensure we chose the right solution. Hampton’s Versalok® metal posts and strainers came out on top as the easiest and most resilient to install given the testing chalky ground conditions synonymous with the South Downs. The reduced profile and increased strength of the Versalok post certainly made the job of driving in the post much easier, plus the 30 year guarantee that all Hampton’s posts come with is further peace
of mind that we made the best choice for increased durability and  longevity’ said Calum Summers. ‘Much of the day-to-day maintenance at Harting Down is provided for by volunteers, so when it came to the installation of the miles of metal posts and fencing, it was this dedicated team of helpers that were faced with this possibly onerous task. Fulfilled mostly with hand held post drivers, the end result was a credit to the team involved; incredibly uniform lines of posts and well strained fencing, highlighting the ease with which the posts can be installed given the minimal training provided.’ said Calum.

The revitalised fencing will provide much needed boundaries to retain the pedigree Sussex and Belted Galloway cattle that are used to graze the grassland at Harting Down. The herd are essential to the conservation of the wild-flower rich downland grassland, providing low-intensity grazing that naturally supports biodiversity. With their help the grasslands have shifted from grass to herbs with plants such as marjoram, thyme, vetches and rare orchids popping up. With this comes masses of butterflies and beetles so it’s a win-win all round.

The native breeds of cattle are very hardy and like nothing more than toughing it out on the most exposed scarp face slope of the downs. The herd are often split up using electric fences to target graze many of the grasslands at Harting Down.

For more information on Hampton’s full product range visit www.hamptonsteel.co.uk or call 01933 234070.