One of the best things about being an NT ranger is that we get to hidden places around the Lakes.
Coldwell Quarry is such a place, hidden in the woods near Outgate its a SSSI important for the exposed geological features in the quarried cliffs.
Unfortunately sometime in the past the quarry was not so secret and it had been used to dump waste fencing materials and other rubbish so it was up to us to clear it out, we didn't realise we would encounter a prehistoric creature in the process!
Volunteer John standing next to the dumped waste
using a pallat to stop sinking into the sludge.
And what of the prehistoric monster?? I won't be cheeky about John, (without help from volunteers we would struggle to complete so much work).
On day 2 of the job we found this Southern Hawker dragonfly newly emerged on our pallat (you can see the shed larval skin called an exuvia next to the insect). Dragonflies have flown the earth for 300 million years, some fossils have a wingspan of 70cm!
We were able to watch the dragonfly take it's first flight into the surrounding woodland after about 20mins where it will feed and mature before returning to the quarry to breed.
Teneral Southern Hawker
Removing the rubbish and cutting back overhanging vegetation should improve the habitat, let more light in and make the geology easier to see if you can find the quarry!
Rubbish removed and cutting back completed.
Everyone knows that trolls live under bridges but not everyone knows about the old bridge over Blelham beck near the campsite at Low Wray, I didn't until I was asked to clear some trees growing on the bridge. They had to be removed as their roots were damaging the structure.
There's a bridge in there somewhere!
Once again with help from volunteers we were able to clear the trees and ivy and find the old bridge. The bridge is Grade 2 listed and dates from the late 19th century when it's thought it was re-modelled as part of changes made to Low Wray farm by the Dawsons who owned Wray castle and it's estate.
More trees removed.
The bridge emerging from the woods.
All bridges have trolls its just a matter of finding them! After a couple of hours of graft our troll emerged from his leafy hiding place and stands ready to scare anyone who dares to cross his bridge!
Wray the troll uncovered.