Tuesday, 21 February 2017

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

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.


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.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Recent planting - Langdale

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

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 an ancient deer park that date back 100s 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 proof tree cage.

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

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 site.

Once the 30 sites 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.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Wordsworth Daffodils 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

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 his 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 and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing 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 were 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 colourful 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.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Volunteers 2016

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.