Friday, 25 April 2014

Tree Planting and pollards in Wood Pasture at Troutbeck Park Farm.

Wood Pasture and Parkland.

An ancient and historic land management  system where livestock grazed amongst trees grown for timber.

These open grasslands, heath, and wetlands interspersed with mature and ancient trees are ecologically important, as well as being visually attractive landscapes.

A long term benefit of livestock, especially cows, feeding, trampling and fertilising the ground has resulted in a species rich habitat.

See Woodland Ranger Ben Knipe's post "Trees + Cows = Wood Pasture," for more details.

Cattle grazing beneath the veteran trees at Glenamara Park, Ullswater.  Image © Steve Dowson, Area Ranger. Ullswater. See post "Glenamara Park."

Nowadays, careful management is required to keep wood pastures at their best by... pollarding trees to extend their life span (See images below), cattle grazing, encouraging natural regeneration, and planting and protecting saplings which will eventually take the place of the existing old trees.

A lapsed ash pollard seen from above......

.....and below. Terrific habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including bats and birds.
Usually pollarded every fifteen years.

A recently pollarded ash at Troutbeck Park Farm. The main branches are cut back close to the trunk which will promote dense regrowth. (The timber and brash stacked nearby). Pollarding slows down a tree's growth so pollards are capable of living to a great age. Older pollards often become hollow.

The National Trust has, in partnership with the tenant farmer, embarked on a major long term project to  improve the wood pasture at Troutbeck Park Farm. The work is grant aided by Natural England through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

Part of the project work involves tree planting and constructing tree pens to protect them during the early years.

Fell rangers and countryside Central and East Lakes rangers carrying  the materials for constructing "tree pens" up the slopes above Troutbeck Park Farm.

Back for more materials...... in Red Arrow formation.

A newly planted oak.

The tree pen taking shape.

The wide spacing between the newly planted trees will give them the potential to become iconic veterans in years to come....

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.

 View from Queen Adelaide Hill, above Millerground

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.

The clapper bridge at Millerground that spans Wynlass Beck near the point where it flows into Windermere.

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.

Image showing part of the bramble choked area to be tackled.

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.

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....

                                            Success!  22nd April 2014. 

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.