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 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.





  • Fixing the landslide at Seldom Seen

    11:48 30 November 2016
    By Ade Mills, Leo Walmsley , Pete Entwistle

    As 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

    Threshthwaite Cove & Raven Crag
    Threshthwaite Cove is a beautiful quiet valley (if not a little windy at the best of times!) situated near Hartsop.

    Erosion scar before


    After landscaping

    Thresthwaite 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 group





    Working 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 Valley
    From 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 widening















    Brown 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 & Fairfield

    We 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. 




    Helvellyn

    Helvellyn 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 Edge 

    Striding 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 Hause

    To 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 landscaping


    The 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
    Before

























    I

    In 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 Wicksteed

    Academy 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 volunteer group from Windermere School, who help out on most Thursday afternoons on various tasks, began landscaping work with Bruna.
    A busy scene unfolds!
    Smaller stones were put in buckets and...
    ...carried over to the pond.
    looking promising.
    Really taking shape.
    Almost done. Approximately two and a half tons of stone was used for the pond.
    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.
    The Windermere School group with Bruna on the right.
    Julie King, Director of student pathways and careers at Windermere School, quite literally threw herself into the task. She gave pond dipping a whole new meaning and demonstrated just how deep the pond was!
  • 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 Graham



    Looking Spectacular

    As we get older we all need a little extra help to keep ourselves  looking spectacular !


    Looking hairy


     For 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 Destination




    At 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
  • Variety

    03:45 28 October 2016
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    Last 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.
    After our usual Monday morning litter sweep of the lake shore properties, Jenkyns Field, Cockshott Point and Millerground, we set to work.
    With the path clear, the cut up oak was transported back to St. Catherine's...
     ..."processed" into firewood and stacked in the log store for seasoning, ready to be used in the Footprint wood burner.
    Next up four farm gates for High Lickbarrow  Farm were undercoated and later painted in high gloss red. This colour is quite a feature of the farm's "colour scheme"!
    This is the five foot gate, dazzling!..the other three gates are ten foot in length.
    Next on the agenda, stone setts were used to create a defined border between the walkways, grassed area, flower beds and raised beds around the Footprint building.
    Looking, dare I say, not bad!
    the power barrow, proving its inestimable worth yet again, was used to collect gravel and distribute it along the walkways around the raised beds.
    The power barrow was also pressed into service to collect stones washed down
    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!