Latest team news

  • Tree planting at High Borrowdale with Friends of the Lake District.

    08:30 21 February 2017
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    The National Trust actively encourages members of staff to work for up to 5 days per year with other conservation organisations.

    I used one of my days to help with Friends of the Lake District's Fell Care Force Tree Planting Day on February 8th.. See link below for more information.

    https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/high-borrowdale

    The ongoing project will ultimately involve planting 5200 native trees at High Borrowdale. This land, acquired by Friends of The Lake District in 2002, is located north of Kendal and south of Shap. It is also within the newly extended area of the Lake District National Park.

    A good turn out of over 50 volunteers were at the Hucks Brow layby on the A6 (GR553030) close to the track that leads to High Borrowdale.
    Tools for the job! 
    High Borrowdale is within the locality described by Alfred Wainwright as the most beautiful valley outside the Lake District.

    By planting oak, alder, willow, hawthorn, rowan and holly amongst other tree species, a native woodland will be created.

    This will not only enhance the landscape and habitats but tree roots, once established, will help to combat further erosion. This should reduce the risk of landslides that caused so much damage here in December 2015.
    Struggling up the slope with a bulk bag full of tree tubes and stakes.
    Looks enjoyable!
    One of the sympathetically restored barns, undertaken by Friends of the Lake District, at High Borrowdale in which the trees to be planted are stored.
    Like the wildflowers we planted in Grasmere...See a  previous post...The alder trees are plug plants, making them easier to plant.
    A newly planted alder.
    In total more than 600 trees were planted, staked and tubed on the day.
    A well earned break and you can get 4G here!. I enjoyed my day in High Borrowdale, felt a real sense of achievement, and look forward to working  with  Friends of the Lake District again.

    R.Wicksteed.

  • Recent planting - Langdale

    10:52 15 February 2017
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    Recently we have been out enjoying Lakeland’s finest weather - rain! We hope you have too!

    Some of the volunteers braving the weather to help us! 

    Our team along with help from volunteers successfully managed to plant 50 juniper (Juniperus communis) trees at Middlefell in Great Langdale. We also planted around 30 other assorted species of tree including Crab Apple, Hazel and Rowan (Malus sylvestris, Cratageous monogyna, Corylus avellana and Sorbus aucuparia).
    Juniper's poor regeneration is of such concern, that it has been included in the Biodiversity Action Plan as a priority species for Cumbria.


    View from Middle Fell our site for the day.

    Various schemes, aimed at conserving juniper, will hopefully safeguard the long term future of this threatened species (see our previous blogs on Juniper planting & conservation).

    Newly planted Juniper 

    The planting of the additional 30 native trees in keeping with the area will help maintain the biodiversity and wildlife value otherwise in decline.

    What is Juniper? – One of the three conifers native to England, can you name the other two (answer below).

    Spot the Ranger.

    Juniper was one of the first tree species to "colonise" Cumbria after the last ice age. Juniper has been a prominent feature on this landscape ever since.
    Juniper is best suited to the extreme weather conditions, and poor soil found on the Lake District fells. Having said this Juniper is still in decline in both Cumbria and the U.K.

    One of the reasons for Junipers decline is that many of the trees found in Cumbria are now very old; (upwards of 200 years old). Unfortunately, the few seedlings that they do manage to reproduce are also heavily grazed by sheep, rabbits and deer.

    Pete and Liam spotted planting down slope, the trucks can be spotted in the back ground, we were working high up the fell side.

    Juniper is an important habitat; as it supports, or is host to over 40 types of insects, including the Juniper Carpet Moth. The caterpillars feed exclusively on juniper. Larvae of the Juniper Berry Miner Moth feed on  juniper seeds.
    Juniper's dense prickly foilage provides good cover and protection for nesting birds.
    The Ring Ouzel, an upland bird of the thrush family, feeds up on ripe juniper berries before its Autumn migration to Southern Spain, or the Atlas Mountains in North West Africa.

    Answer – Scots Pine & Yew join Juniper as the three native British conifers.

  • Mass tree planting in the Lakes

    08:17 15 February 2017
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    National Trust Rangers, volunteers, local residents and school children gathered together to plant a variety of different trees across the Lake District on 10 February 2017. This was the first ever mass tree planting that the National Trust have organised in the Lakes on the same date and approximately 1400 trees were planted - some of which will be the wonderful veterans of the future.
    Over 90 people took part at five sites spreading the length and width of the Lake District, including; Glencoyne Park in Ullswater, Hoathwaite in Coniston, Wasdale, Fell Foot on the shore of Lake Windermere, and Coledale, near the village of Braithwaite.


    our job in Ullswater was to concentrate on Gelncyone Park


    Glencoyne Park is and ancient deer park that date back 100's of years. the park holds numerous amounts of veteran trees


    in 2013 Stephen Dowson (Area Ranger) picked some crab apples from the veteran crab apple trees in the park


    these apples where sent off to the National Trust conservation center in Devon.


    over the three years since picking the seeds they have grown into saplings and on Friday the 10'th of February they were planted back in the park where they were picked.


    there were 30 crab apple trees to be planted. due to Glencoyne being an old deer park there is still a wild herd of deer that can be found in the park, as well as the 12 cattle that graze the land. This meant that each tree had to be planted inside a deer and cow prove tree cage.


    So prior to the planting taking place on the Friday material had to be carried out to sight




    There were a lot of posts and rails to be carried out each cage required 14 rails and 4 posts.


    A mixture of volunteers, staff and a quad bike helped get everything to sight.






    Once the 30 sights had been selected the cages could be built.




    And finally once the cages had been built the trees could be planted. Luckily we had lots of little hands to help us.




    Patterdale Primary school came to lend a hand.


    We all had a thoroughly enjoyable day.




    Lets hope that in 100-200 years time these will be the veteran trees of the future.


  • Restoring a Victorian Vision

    18:19 07 February 2017
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham


    Here in the Lake District the National Trust looks after an awful lot of land - about a fifth of all the countryside in the National Park. But it’s not all high, open fells, we also care for iconic historic places like Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top, and James Garth Marshall’s Tarn Hows.

    
    A stunning wintry scene looking across Tarn Hows to the Old Man of Coniston and Wetherlam

    Located in the low level hills between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is ideal for a walk or cycle trip from either, and has lovely circular walks around the tarn. With a commanding panorama out across the wider Lake District fells, it's a favourite with both regular and first-time visitors to the area, attracting over 300,000 visitors a year, and is popular with artists and photographers who love the fantastic views.

    Marshall's design

    Yet despite Tarn Hows dramatic setting, it’s very much a ‘man-made’ environment. It was created as part of a designed landscape by James Garth Marshall, a wealthy Leeds industrialist and owner of the Monk Coniston Estate, in the 1860s, in the ‘picturesque’ style popular at the time. Tarn Hows as we see it today was originally three natural tarns. When Marshall bought it he embarked on a project to create a new body of water surrounded by a bold, ornamental planting scheme, which also had an industrial use to feed his sawmill, downstream in Coniston. 

    Tarn Hows in the late 19th century, much less wooded than it is today.
    Marshall’s vision involved clumps of trees planted in a carefully considered way, highlighting rocky knolls and the dramatic Lakes landscape beyond. The new planting was protected by ‘nurse’ crops of conifers, which were intended to be removed once the young trees were established. However, Marshall died before his vision was realised and the nurse crops were never removed. Trees then grew to dominate the Tarn Hows panorama as we know it today. 

    Looking across to the Langdale Pikes today...

    The wood for the trees
    Recently, the Trust decided that the majestic views over the tarn and across to the fells beyond were in danger of being lost amongst the trees. Marshall’s clumps of specimen trees, although still present, were hard to see in the thick growth, his vision fading in the passage of time. Aware of the popularity of the present-day landscape however, and realising that many visitors who came to enjoy Tarn Hows  didn’t know of Marshall’s ‘hidden’ landscape, the Trust carried out a full survey and consultation with local stakeholders to decide on the most appropriate  course of action. As Tarn Hows is highly protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, we also had to make sure that work would protect the rare plant communities and habitats that exist there.  An approach was agreed which therefore aimed to restore elements of Marshall’s vision, without impacting too suddenly and dramatically on the modern cherished landscape. There will be a gradual receding of the modern character and a simultaneous emergence of Marshall’s vision, with a medium term co-existence of the two landscape characters. Work will take place very incrementally over a number of years, with no sudden or drastic changes to the views and feel of Tarn Hows, and there will be periods when little or no work is being carried out there.
    ...and in the 1950's



    The project today  

    We have now started this work to restore elements of the designed landscape, as it was intended to look when it was originally created. This will involve very gradually removing some trees, particularly thinning areas where there is dense regrowth, to open up some views over the tarn and across to the fells beyond, as well as revealing some of the rocky knolls identified in the original design which have become overgrown.  Opening up views across the tarn and surrounding countryside will enable visitors to enjoy perspectives on this landscape as it was originally intended to look in the 19th century, as well as helping to protect some of those rare habitats around Tarn Hows. 

    Our ranger teams will also be working to partially reinstate parts of Marshall’s vision with some new planting in selected locations from the suite of trees in his original plans. Work will be done very gradually over a number of years, but starting now means that we can avoid too much intrusive felling work in the future, and keep the visual impact on the landscape to a minimum. So if you’re out and about around Tarn Hows in the coming months, and see us working down there, do stop and have a chat. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this exciting project!

    Matt Tweed.
    Looking up Tarn Hows towards Helvellyn, possibly 1920's.

  • We're Recruiting!

    08:44 02 February 2017
    By Ade Mills, Leo Walmsley , Pete Entwistle


    If you've ever fancied the Lake District fells as your office here's your chance to live the dream... *

    We are currently recruiting for a fixed-term, until 1st April 2019, Assistant Ranger (Uplands) here with us in the Central Lakes.

    Click here https://careers.nationaltrust.org.uk for further details and to apply.

    *Note: Good weather can not be guaranteed.
  • Wordsworth Daffodils 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

    07:48 19 January 2017
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed


    The beginning of the year always sees Wordsworth point being prepared for Daffodil season. After a summer of Bracken growth the area needs strimming and clearing to allow this year’s Daffodils a chance to grow through.

     



     

    This area is called Wordsworth point; because it is supposedly the spot that inspired William Wordsworth to write is famous poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’. Dorothy Wordsworth, Williams sister said in her journal that she had never seen ‘daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing’.

     

    Every January before the bulbs have a chance to send up a shoot, the area is strimmed.

     




     

    This picture was taken on January 17 and already a few where beginning to appear from the undergrowth.

     



     

    As well as clearing the bracken and brambles it was decided this year that a bit of the natural regeneration would be cleared from the road side, to allow motorist the chance to see the daffodils as they are passing by.

     



     

    This involved cutting back any small sycamore that had started growing and clearing any hazel stands that had started to get out of control.

     



     

    This work has much improved the area and will hopefully allow some more light in to help the daffodils to flourish.

     

    If you are around Ullswater in spring, please go down and have a look at the colorful showing. Or even better pop into the welcome building at Aira Force car park to pick up a Daffodil walk that takes you along the lake shore finishing at Wordsworth Daffodils.

     


  • Toblerone or not Toblerone that is the question - New Year Resolutions

    15:10 22 December 2016
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham




    Believe and Achieve


    Another  year is coming to a close and it seems an appropriate time to look back and reflect, to think about the highlights, what’s been achieved and those New Year resolutions.

    Last night I was tidying the bedside drawer and sifting through all the tablets, sprays, inhalers,ointments and contraptions that enable me to function as a vaguely normal human being these days,  I came across a crumpled bit of paper; on it I had scribbled my new year resolutions for 2016. It read.....


                      A)    Put an end to global poverty.
                      B)    Bring about world peace.
                      C)     Tidy the garage.

                 Note to self . ... Believe and achieve
                                         

    Mmmm.........Well if you’ve opened a newspaper, or turned on the news recently, you’ll have realised that I haven’t made quite as much progress on the first two as I would have liked, and indeed after a strong start in the garage earlier this year I have slipped back there somewhat in recent months as well. So much so in fact that a neighbours son came round recently while playing; aged about 6 he comes from a family who keep  their house scrupulously clean and are fastidiously neat. He was playing the role of an inspector of some description, complete with clip board , pencil and a disapproving look that Claude Littner off  ‘The Apprentice’ would have approved of ! He took a look inside the garage and after not much deliberation ,declared it a fail, on some unspecified health and safety infringement, .... cheeky monkey.  What’s wrong with kids these days anyway, playing at Health and Safety Inspectors,  when they should be out stealing from shops, smashing things up and having spitting competitions ?
    To be honest looking at it myself again I could see his point, I thought it’s a good job he hadn’t seen the garage before I’d tidied it  ........ 

    Sorry Claude - not only have I let myself down....


     The final Straw

    That’s the final straw, I resolve that my  new year resolutions for 2017 will be more achievable  ....


                   A)    Eat more Toblerone.
                   B)    Use the word ‘truckle’ whenever I can.
                   C)     Wear a hat.



          Climb every mountain ?

    But, if you decide you have more about you than me,  why not make some more challenging resolutions.





                 1.   Get fit –  try one of our free 'Trust 10' trail runs. 4th Sunday of every month, you don’t have to be Mo Farah you could be Mo....stly walking it, if that suits you ! (015394 41880  or nationaltrust.org.uk/running )

                       
    join us on the West side of Windermere
                                  






             2.      Re-connect with the natural world – Spend some quality ‘you time’ or should that be ‘Yew time’ in the beautiful, tranquil Dodgson  and Bailiff Woods on the east side of Coniston Water, Cumbria.
    Dodgson Wood - Photo Ed Parker

                    

                                        


                                     
     
                  3.     Climb your first mountain – walk in the footsteps of Chris Bonnington. The summit of Latterbarrow at 803ft is a good starting point and gives you views as good as any summit in the Lakes. Alfred Wainright says  it's "a circular walk needing little effort yet yielding much delight".



                  4.      Do more work for charity – volunteer for the National Trust in the countryside or at one of our houses.
    ( other bits of countryside and charities are available )


    Whatever you decide to do have happy and peaceful 2017, this has been Ranger Paul signing off for the South Lakes Ranger team , see you in the New Year.....now where did I put that extra large triangular chocolate ? ahh there it is underneath my Trilby.
  • Volunteers 2016

    13:22 18 December 2016
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    Some examples of the work volunteers have been involved with in the Central and East Lakes region over the course of 2016.

    A special thank-you to all the volunteers who helped in the clean up in the Central and East Lakes region after the devastating damage caused by a succession of storms in December 2015.







    Thanks also to the volunteers who throughout 2016 have been an invaluable help on various projects...including...
    Cumbria NT Volunteers "bracken bashing" around juniper trees..Langdale.

    Working Holiday Group putting in new steps at Millerground....
    ... major upgrade works to Millerground path...
    ...and lake-shore revetment work.
    Cumbria NT Volunteers "plug planting" wild flowers near Grasmere.


    Windermere School involved with touch me not balsam and netted carpet moth conservation work at St. Catherine's.


    Reinstating the pond in the walled garden at St. Catherine's.
    Volunteers resurfacing footpath at Ullswater during "Fix The Fells Day".

    Volunteers from Stickle Barn involved with Himalayan balsam control at Elterwater.




  • I'm 'lichen' it - plenty to see on winter walks

    10:00 09 December 2016
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    With winter tightening it's grip it can feel like the whole of nature has hunkered down until spring and there's not much out there to appreciate. That’s what can make winter the ideal time to build an appreciation for some of the less dramatic lifeforms, the ones you might overlook in the more fecund months of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the lichens.

    In fact, given that lichens cover (by some estimations) some 6% of the earth’s surface, overlooking them is something that we probably all do a lot of the time. If it wasn’t for the clean air act then this is something most town dwellers would have been forgiven for as lichens are a great indicator of air pollution – they don’t grow well in polluted environments. But nowadays they can be found almost anywhere, although admittedly you’d need to go to some of the more remote parts of northwest Scotland to see the best examples.
     
    Cabbagey! A very leafy Foliose (see below) Lichen on a tree near Aira Force
    But what is a lichen? Well, it’s complicated. And also a bit weird.

    Simply put, they are composite organisms. This means they are neither one thing or another, but more a new kind of life form that arises from (mostly) an algae living amongst the filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. The algae benefit by being protected from the environment by the filaments of the fungus, which also gather moisture and nutrients from the environment, and (usually) provide an anchor to it. The fungus benefits because the algae produces food by photosynthesis, something they are unable to do.
     
    Some lovely hairy Fruticose (see below) lichens on a tree
    They’ve been recognised as organisms for quite some time but it wasn’t until 1867 when Swiss botanist Simon Schwendener proposed his dual theory of lichens that their true nature began to emerge. However, common censunsus at the time was that all living things were autonomous so this was rejected at first (it seems the composite organism thing was just too strange) and it took many years and the support of high profile people, including our very own Beatrix Potter, to finally see the idea accepted.

    Nowadays, the arguments still go on. At the moment they are classified by their fungal component, but there is some debate over whether this is the right thing to do as two dramatically different looking lichens can be technically the same thing due to having the same fungus but two different algal parts. Confusing!
     
    Beautiful patterns on a Crustose (see below) lichen on one of the walls at High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre
    In fact, once you start to look into them it gets extraordinarily confusing with identification being a really specialized field requiring microscopes and chemicals. But this doesn’t need to take away from the fact that with a little knowledge and open eyes they can add an extra element to any winter walk.

    A good starting point is to get to know the three most commonly accepted growth forms: Crustose (like a crust), Fruticose (like a little shrub) and Foliose (with leaf like structures). There are lots of others and the boundaries between these are sometimes blurry but get a cheap hand lens and go in close and you’ll be amazed at the microscopic and very alien world that is right there under your nose.
     
    Bright red 'podetia' seen on some lichens, bearing spores 
    Finally, here’s some  Fun lichen facts!

    Unlike simple dehydration in plants and animals, lichens may experience a very high loss of body water in dry periods. Lichens are capable of surviving extremely low levels of water content (poikilohydric). They quickly absorb water when it becomes available again, becoming soft and fleshy. That’s tough!

    The European Space Agency has discovered that lichens can survive unprotected in space. In an experiment two species of lichen were sealed in a capsule and launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket in May 2005. Once in orbit, the capsules were opened and the lichens were directly exposed to the vacuum of space with its widely fluctuating temperatures and cosmic radiation. After 15 days, the lichens were brought back to earth and were found to be in full health with no discernible damage from their time in orbit. That’s tougher!

    Lichens are a pioneer species, often the first to colonize bare rock. They can grow in a very wide range of environmental conditions and can grow on almost any surface. They can even live inside solid rock, growing between the grains. Also quite tough …..


    When growing on rocks some lichens slowly decompose them, contributing to the process of weathering by which they are turned into soil. Normally benign, this can cause a problem on artificial stone structures such as Mount Rushmore in the States which has to be regularly cleaned of Lichens. So tough even the might of the US struggles against them!


    By Rob Clarke, Ranger at High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre
  • Monday 05 December

    16:01 05 December 2016
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed


    On the way to do some tree planting... (Wednesday November 30th) on land belonging to The Howe Farm at Troutbeck, above Windermere,... this fallen beech across the footpath was discovered!
    The tree had come down from National Trust land in the recent high winds partially blocking the footpath with the crown resting on a neighbour's property. The next day, Liam, forester ranger based at St. Catherines, can be seen here working out the best approach to deal with the tree.
    Jess from High Close who like Liam is also qualified to do large tree felling was able to give assistance at very short notice. With warning signs set up and a lookout in place to warn walkers using the footpath work began.
    In this image Jess has reduced the crown of the tree. Most of the wood will be cross cut and used for firewood after seasoning in the NT Footprint wood-burner.
    Here Liam  is cutting more sections out of the tree trunk to further reduce its weight prior to "felling" it..
    Above and below.
    Working down to where the tree is resting on the bank.
    A robin popped by to see what was going on.
    Finally the main trunk was winched to the side of the path and out of the way, ready to be dealt with later.
    Jess kindly volunteered to do the winching.
    Liam and Jess...what a team!
    The first of many loads of wood on the way to St. Catherine's with the wood-burner as the final destination.