On a very wet January Saturday, Fingle Woods was alive with activity. The roar of vintage motorcycle and car engines could be heard powering through the trees and the collective power of woodland volunteers and genuine working horse power were also on display.
The 87th Exeter Trial passed through the woods, tackling some of the steepest slopes and muddiest tracks in the Teign valley. Drivers and riders waited patiently in the rain for their turn to tackle the steep and slippery terrain up Wooston hill climb before completing the second day of the two-day trial at Torquay.
The weather created the conditions for a genuine trial, with the drivers searching for grip on their way up the hill. Though not all the entrants completed the hill climb challenge, the unmistakable sense of success when the cars reached the top was heard echoing through the oak trees. Hats off (and umbrellas up) to the intrepid trialists!
Fingle also paid a fond farewell to the mighty Beano and his handlers Will and Alex who have been carefully hauling timber from the woodland around the Upperton Weir area all week. In spite of the saturated ground, their work has left the woodland floor in good condition, ready for the longer and hopefully drier days to regenerate the wild plants.
The Woodland Trust volunteers braved the elements to put in a day’s work thinning out some conifers to leave the established broad leaved trees with additional space to flourish in the spring. The small stems of Douglas fir and western red cedar were stacked for use as fencing and tepee poles while the brash fire kept them warm and boiled the kettle for well-deserved tea breaks.
Written by Matt Parkins
Images by Paul Moody