Tuesday, 15 April 2014

'Millerground Enhancement Group'......(Community working together.)


This year has seen the start of a great new initiative to revitalise the Millerground /Rayrigg Meadow area. Historically this area has suffered from some antisocial behaviour especially if we have warm sunny weather.


Simone Backhouse, a local Police Officer, was keen for local schools to assist the National Trust in carrying out work parties to help foster a sense of ownership for the area. From this original acorn of an idea, Windermere & Bowness Civic Society started the Millerground Enhancement Group. This has now developed into a fine Oak tree, pulling together the National Trust, Cumbria Constabulary, South Lakeland District Council, Windermere Town Council, Windermere & Bowness Civic Society, Go Lakes, Lake District National Park Authority and Age Concern, all working closely together to forge a common goal. The following is just one example of this initiative being implemented..


On Thursday afternoon, the 27th March, students from Windermere School, together with members of the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society, and members of Windermere Town Council met up with National Trust Rangers at Millerground.


The work involved pulling out, and cutting back brambles on the slope above the footpath in preparation for the planting of 2200 bluebells. This was made possible by kind donations from Cllr Allan Winrow (WTC), Cllr Ben Berry (SLDC) & Abi & Tom's Garden Plants of Halecat who also sourced the plants.


This image shows a small area of the bramble choked slope to be tackled.
Making a great start.
Looking so much better.
Putting the brambles into bulk bags......
.....ready for collection.
Two trips were needed for the National Trust Land-rover and trailer to remove all the bags. 

An excellent afternoon's work by everyone involved.


The following weekend the bluebells were planted by the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society. 

Pictures of the new blooms to follow....


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Through the hedge to Bridge House.

Fiona Green, House Steward at Townend, has taken on the running of 17th century  Bridge House; it was reopened to the public on Thursday the third of April.

One of Fiona's ideas was to cut a way through the beech hedge that borders the area behind Bridge House and make a new entrance; this would be a good alternative to the narrow  roadside pavement access.

With everyone happy with the proposal, the work went ahead, and was completed before Bridge House reopened.

Work underway.
The way through.
A tree stump needed to be dug out.
Nearly there.
Taking away the cut back beech.
The ground has been levelled, and is being surfaced
with crushed stone from Elterwater Quarry.
Over two tons of stone used to resurface the walkway
and the areas in front of the memorial benches.
 Inviting new entrance to the area behind  Bridge House...
particularly for those going to and from Ambleside's main
car park, or to the shops and restaurant located nearby.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stylish New Gates?....Improving the access to Windermere's scenic North East shore at Jenkyn's Field.



Jenkyn's  (also known as Jenkins) Field is  situated on  the North East shore of Windermere and is only a few minutes walk from the busy tourist area of Waterhead.

Snow covered Langdale Pikes in March ......viewed from the Northern end of Jenkyn's Field.
Canoeists heading out from Jenkyn's Field.
Jenkyn's Field has gently sloping beaches,  and is well  worth a visit for the wonderful views across the lake.

Archie and Missie, with their well trained owner!
It is also an ideal place for a gentle walk, or a picnic and in warmer weather it is a popular base for swimmers.

Great North Swim. 2011. Viewed from Jenkyn's Field.
Many people watch the huge annual summer event - The Great North Swim - from here.

C'mon and Swim to The Beat.
50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU'RE 11 3/4. Plenty of scope at Jenkyn's Field including
(5)  Skim a stone, (12)  Make a trail with sticks or, as illustrated,  (14)  Dam a stream.

The step stiles at either end of the field were replaced with gates in March 2014, making access to the permissive footpath much easier now.

The work was undertaken by rangers based at St Catherine's with funding from Golakes.

The wooden step stile at the Southern end of Jenkyn's Field before removal.
James, Area Ranger, getting serious with a "wrecking bar!".
The stile has been removed and the ground is being prepared to allow
 the impressive old limestone gate stoops to be brought back into use again.
What a difference! The new gate and steps. Much more inviting. So much easier to use.
Approaching the gate into Jenkyns Field. Acres of space.
 Quite a contrast with the busy A591 to the right.
As one walker put it. "This is such an easy place to get to...to get away from it all!"
For the more adventurous, there is a route around the rocky outcrop at Jenkyn's Field. 
First to go through the new gateway. Good to see the old gate stoops in use again
The stone step stile at the northern end. Narrow, awkward and not a very inviting access.

Work in progress.
The stone step stile removed........

...and replaced by a 4 foot gate and a stone step. Big improvement.


Where to go to next? Stagshaw Gardens and "The Tall Tree Trail" overlook Jenkyn's Field and are within easy reach. Champion trees include the tallest Grand Fir in England; it is also the tallest tree in Cumbria. See post: "Champion Trees of  Ambleside." The trail starts near the Stagshaw Garden's car park.


 Magnificent! 



View of Jenkyn's Field, and the Champion Trees from the lake, and a hint of how Stagshaw Garden looks in April. (See images below)















Friday, 21 March 2014

High Close Volunteers

High Close Estate was left to the National Trust in 1951 and the house was leased to the Youth Hostel Association shortly afterwards. There would have once been nine gardeners employed to maintain the grounds at High Close, however much of the garden has been in disrepair for many years. Volunteers have taken ownership of the garden and begun work to clear back areas of rhododendron and reinstate the network of paths through the gardens.

After a break over the Christmas period, our volunteers have returned to High Close to continue their work.

While they were away……

The gardens were subject to the high winds over the last couple of months which has seen the loss of one of our large Rhododendrons.



The foresters winched the large root plate back into position and the ranger team cut the remaining stems and brash up to clear the pathway.

















The hard work was left to the volunteer group who dragged and burned all the brash to make the site tidy.



































Our Footpath Rangers have been hard at work over the last couple of months installing beautiful slate steps in the gardens to improve access and link the network of paths that the volunteers have been working on. The volunteers have been continuing with edging the paths to link into the steps




















They have also begun work clearing and preparing the ground for seeding on the banking below the view point.


Another great days work by the team who we rely on to help continue to develop and reinstate the gardens at High Close. The volunteers will continue through the year to work on the footpath infrastructure and improving areas of the gardens to restore them to their former state

If you are interested in volunteering we are currently advertising for a Volunteer Coordinator for Grasmere and Great Langdale, to help us increase our volunteer numbers so we can continue the great work already started at High Close as well as working on new projects.

For more information:  Click Here