Latest team news
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 WicksteedThis 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 GrahamBelieve and AchieveAnother 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 achieveMmmm.........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 StrawThat’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 Windermere2. 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.
13:22 18 December 2016
By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland WicksteedSome 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 GrahamWith 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.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.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 centreIn 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.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 WicksteedOn 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.
Fixing the landslide at Seldom Seen
11:48 30 November 2016
By Ade Mills, Leo Walmsley , Pete EntwistleAs part of our work on the path at Seldom Seen we have also recently repaired a substantial landslide, around ten metres in length, which was washed away during heavy rain.Landslide from below
The first part of the job was to build the path up to it's original height. Using large stones (the same as we use for path building) a dry stone wall was built and the area behind the wall was filled in with material excavated from elsewhere on the path.Building up the revetment wall
The top side of the path had also been badly eroded by walkers trying to find a new route around the landslip. This area was re-profiled and a trench dug into the bank to take water away from the revetment wall and send it through stone drains at either side.View of the landslide from the path
Once the revetment wall was completed and back-filled we covered the path surface with pinnel. Pinnel is a type of gravelly soil that compacts down very well to form a hard surface. This was dug out from around the washout and from the path above. It's very labour intensive to dig but gave the path a really nice solid finish.Repaired path showing the drainage
Finally the top of the wall was turfed and landscaped to discourage people from walking on the edge and potentially causing damage.Landslide from a slightly different angle
The new section of path has made a huge difference and will help prevent the area becoming further eroded by people trying to pick a route around it.Repaired section of path
Beyond the landslide a stone path was built incorporating stone drains to prevent water running down on to the area that had been washed out.Footpath beyond the landslide
Saturday 26 November
08:47 26 November 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
Fell Season 2016
The South Lakes upland footpath team have been hard at it Fixing the Fells this year, whilst on our travels we've encountered wild weather, mountain mists, a healthy dose of hard working volunteers and one or two foot paths.
We've had projects running all over the Lakes and helped out some of the other teams too! Here's a rundown of some of the jobs we've been getting up to.
Threshthwaite Cove & Raven CragThreshthwaite Cove is a beautiful quiet valley (if not a little windy at the best of times!) situated near Hartsop. Erosion scar beforeThresthwaite is a very damp place indeed and the path suffers a great deal from flowing water and foot fall. Above we have tried to define a path line and re-vegetate the damaged areas. Working holiday groupWorking with different volunteer groups we carried out work all the way along the valley including installation of rock stepping stones, path definition and drain building.
Sca Fell Pike
Wasdale ValleyFrom time to time the upland teams like to help each other out, earlier in the year we had the chance to go to the dramatic wild west-ern fells to work on Sca Fell Pike. West Lakes team on brown tongue. Wastwater at the back. Path wideningBrown Tongue is a popular route up England's highest mountain and can be incredibly busy all year round. To reduce erosion and help accommodate the vast numbers of feet on the hill the path from bottom to top (its a big path, trust me!) is being widened. In the picture to the right you can see the new and wider pitching merging into the older path which is soon to be replaced.
Dolly Wagon PIke & FairfieldWe have have been paying some attention to the hills surrounding the popular Grisedale Tarn. With many a hard working volunteer group and help from both the Western and Northern upland teams we've been landscaping out side routes and placing stepping stones over sensitive peat bog. And look here some kindly fellow has labeled the hills just in case!!
Working holiday Opposite direction!Below is a section of much needed pitching Nick put in near the summit of Dolly Wagon Pike.
HelvellynHelvellyn is an understandably popular mountain which on a clear day rewards anyone who ventures up there with stunning views of the whole of the Lake district and beyond to up to Scotland and the Howgills to the east. It's therefore unsurprising to hear that we concentrate a great deal of effort up here.
Thirlmere from Brown Cove Crags Stone pitching put in this summer Striding EdgeStriding Edge suffers a great deal of erosion along the sides of the crest of the ridge so it would be impolite for 'Fix The Fells' to not go and visit and chip away at the on going work up there. Erosion Scar Landscaped out!
Goats HauseTo end the fell season we decided to do a bit of work in our own back yard and our focus turned to Goats Hause which is the col between Coniston Old man and Dow Crag. This project was funded by EOCA or the European Outdoor Conservation Association, you may have seen/heard coverage of this earlier in the year on the TV or Wireless! There is a huge amount of damage to the vegetation in this area so we have been using the usual techniques to reduce this.
The Fix The Fells lengthsmen hard at work landscapingThe above drain finished is now being blended in with its surroundings. Below we are trying to encourage people to use a path line that will erode less quickly After BeforeIn the photo above, the path is relatively thin however it was three times as wide before the area to the left of the path was landscaped out.It's not a bad place to have lunch either......So that's it for the fells for 2016 and next year's work plan is already in the pipeline, for now we're all having a well deserved break by getting on with some good old fashioned hard work down in the lowlands.Thanks for reading
The walled garden pond...St. Catherine's.
09:00 06 November 2016
By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland WicksteedAcademy ranger Bruna Remesso, with volunteer help, has done a great deal of work in the walled garden at St Catherine's this year.One of the jobs she undertook was to reinstate the old pond. It was dug out afresh and a new pond liner was put in place.Stone dredged out of Troutbeck, after Storm Desmond, was selected to be used for landscaping the area around the pond.A busy scene unfolds!
The large rounds of wood floating in the pond are alder. They have had large holes drilled in them as refuge sites for frogs and newts; hopefully they will colonise the pond.
Claife Viewing Station - Facelift
15:10 04 November 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 GrahamLooking SpectacularAs we get older we all need a little extra help to keep ourselves looking spectacular !Looking hairyFor me it’s my increasingly hairy ears, nose and eyebrows that require just that little bit more time spent in front of a magnifying mirror with the scissors and Remington nasal hair trimmer to ensure that I don’t start looking like the lovechild of Brian Blessed and Chewbacca !Must See DestinationAt 238 years old Claife Viewing Station is no different and needs a little love and attention to keep it looking as it should . The Viewing Station was once a ‘must see’ destination for the very earliest tourists to the Lake District, when their traditional ‘Grand Tour ‘ of Europe was too dangerous an undertaking due to the French Revolution .The Station, a now ruined building, lay hidden in the woods for decades until it re-opened to the public last year after a £1/2 million pound facelift and we continue with the care by restoring the landscape around the Viewing Station itself, so that the present day experience is as close to the original as possible.Thrilling Dramatic Wild !This week as part of our landscaping works, we have been planting 750 heather plants with the assistance of a couple of volunteer groups. We have also removed young self sown birch trees and in the near future will be removing more cherry laurel to expose more of the bare rock faces around the Station. All of this is being done to create a more thrilling , dramatic ’wild’ experience for our visitors.Come and see for yourselves , Claife Viewing Station is open all year round as is the Courtyard café. Located on the West shore of Lake Windermere, Far Sawrey,Ambleside, Cumbria.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claife-viewing-station-and-windermere-west-shore
03:45 28 October 2016
By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland WicksteedLast week, Monday 24th of October to Friday 28th, a number of small jobs were ticked off by the ranger team at St. Catherine's.Lets start with a fallen oak blocking the footpath at Bordriggs Brow, Bowness on Windermere.
in the floods and then cleared into heaps along Troutbeck.
These stones will be used to landscape the newly dug out pond in the walled garden at St. Catherine's.Our last job, during the week, was to repair a woodland wall gap above St. Catherine's. (The metal hurdle was put in place in case sheep were brought into the field before the wall had been rebuilt.)Yes Blue! You are a great help!Almost there.Done and dusted. Back to the Bat Cave to write this post, have a coffee, and wind down for the weekend!