Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Natural Play Area, a Drain, and Tree guards. What do they have in common?

Answer: They were three tasks that Central and East Lakes Rangers, with a Working Holiday Group, got to grips with over the course of two days.

Ben Knipe, Woodland Ranger, who organised the work. Chain sawing in the background. (At work on the "Natural Play Area").

The "Natural Play Area" is set among the magnificent champion conifers that make up The Tall Tree Trail situated in Skelghyll Woods, near Waterhead.

For more details, please have a look at the post..."Champion Trees of Ambleside" on this Blog Site.

Ready to lever up one of the balance beams into position.

Hack sawing the threaded bar to length, prior to bolting up the balance beam to the supporting uprights.

First phase completed! More "Natural Play" apparatus will be constructed in the future. All the wood  materials are found nearby.

Meanwhile, in the same neck of the woods, a traditional open slate culvert is being constructed to replace an old, unsightly broken pipe.

Tamping down the base stones.

Excellent job!

The next day, the rangers and volunteers went tree planting and constructed tree guards as part of a project to enhance the wood pasture at Troutbeck Park Farm.

Ben Knipe, Woodland Ranger, explaining what the work will involve. Note the trailer in the background with the posts and rails needed to construct the tree guards.

The long haul! Carrying  the rails up to the tree planting sites.

The tree has been planted. Constructing the tree  guard is now well underway.

Countryside Ranger, Ray Gregory, working with two of the working holiday group on another tree guard.

A completed guard with young oak tree that will in time take the place of the fallen tree.

 A tree guard overlooking Beatrix Potter's favourite farm...Troutbeck Park Farm. More tree guards may be seen in the top of the image.

As can be seen, a great deal was achieved in two days, thanks to the unstinting help received from such a willing and able Working  Holiday  Group.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Track and drainage work at Millerground.

The accumulation of leaf mould covering the track at Millerground was getting quite thick. Neil at the controls of a JCB, scraping up the mud and leaf mould prior to some resurfacing work. 
The track was wet in places, owing to drainage problems.
In addition to cleaning the track, Neil dug a trench in order to catch surface water coming down  from Queen Adelaide Hill's steep slope above Millerground.
The slope at the bottom of Queen Adelaide Hill. The Millerground track is below the dry stone wall boundary.
"Beck Cobbles" were used to make a "French drain" in the recently dug trench. 
The finished drain. It allows water to flow freely into a pipe situated further down the slope which then empties into the beck.
The popular track that leads down to Windermere is much improved and now has a much better and (drier) surface for visitors to walk on. The new drainage system is coping well, even during  recent torrential rain.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Working Holiday

National Trust Working holidays are an exciting and interesting way for people to volunteer and make a difference in conserving the environment and the UK’S heritage. Working holidays have been a part of the National trust for over 45 years and involve people of all ages involved in all types of projects helping us in our work.

The volunteers bring with them a wealth of knowledge and new ideas, skills and experience that the National Trust and others benefit from. The holidays ensure that vital work gets addressed leading to the continued preservation and improvement of a wide spectrum of properties and makes a contribution towards visitor enjoyment and bring locations to life

Volunteers have the opportunity to work in some amazing places, gain new skills and enjoy, often unique, experiences.

Over the last week a team of volunteers have been hard at work at High Close. As part of a larger ongoing volunteer project of reinstating the footpath infrastructure and opening up the grounds for visitors to enjoy the group began work on reinstating the footpath from our new visitor car park into the grounds

The path had been cleared by Cumbria Probation Group ready for the working holiday group to begin setting the edging stones and resurfacing the path.

The group started work on laying the edging stones....

Once the edging was in place this was backfilled with stone to surface the path...

Some work was also done on the banking to remove invasive American Raspberry and to landscape the area ready for grass seeding

We didn't work the group all week, the volunteers got a break and spent the day at Tower Wood on Lake Windermere. Our instructor for the day was Loz who took the group out to enjoy some Kayaking, Sailing and the high ropes tower

A great day was had by all ....

By the end of the week the volunteers had completed the path which now provides valuable access to visitors to the Lake District at High Close. Thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work over the week.

To find out more about the different types of  National Trust Working Holidays visit the National Trust Website Here

Friday, 9 May 2014

A couple of small jobs.

Some of our work involves basic maintenance, or dealing with situations as and when they arise.

The following are two recent examples:

A small section of the private road to Long Green Head Farm, and Troutbeck Park Farm was eroding quite rapidly. 

Digging out to create a firm foundation for the revetement and tarmac.

The repair two weeks later and holding firm.

Heavy vehicles such as tractors and "feed wagons" use this narrow, single track road so a prompt repair was needed before it got any worse.


Two trees had fallen across the boundary fence between the National Trust wooded area at Post Knott and the neighbouring field owned by Matson Ground Farm.

The fence was no longer stock proof so the trees needed to be removed as soon as possible and the fence repaired.

A chain saw was needed to cut up this much.

Now on to the next fallen tree

Nearly done.

The wood and the brash now tidied away and the fence has been straightened and is stock proof again.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fleeced! (The Sheep and The Jackdaw)

These images were taken during a routine" litter patrol" in early April.

This jackdaw was seen helping itself to wool directly from a sheep's back for nesting material. Jackdaws are highly opportunistic. Why bother picking up scraps of wool from the ground, when the source is so readily available?

Jackdaws are known to eat sheep ticks, so they may combine wool gathering with snacking! The sheep seemed surprisingly relaxed and insouciant about what was happening.

That's a good beakful!