Monday, 30 May 2016

Fence repairs - High Hartsop Dodd

Although it is now June we are still finding ourselves repairing boundary walls and fences caused by the devastating floods last December.

Last week we finally got to one of the last remaining fences that had been destroyed by a landslide.

About 80 metres of fence had been completely destroyed and needed replacing, before the farmer could let his sheep back onto the fell.

This was probably one of the last fences to be repaired because of its difficult location. It is situated half way up High Hartsop Dodd above Brothers Water.

To repair the fence we needed: 40 posts, 4 strainers, 8 12ft rails, 2x 50m roles of wire, a post knocker, a bar, bucket of staples not to mention numerous hand tools. This would have taken us the best part of a week to get to site.

Enter the mechanical barrow

We managed to get the materials to site in half a day.

A special thanks has to go to our compatriots from Windermere who also came to lend a much needed hand.

Once all the material was on site we could get on with the job at hand.

It wasn’t going to be easy. The terrain was still very loose and wet from the landslide.

The plan was to try and follow the old fence line where possible. Once we had located that we could start putting in the new posts.

Some of the larger posts (the strainers) had to be strutted, to stop them moving when we put the tension onto the wire.

Chiseling out the wood for the strut. Not a bad view.

Once all the posts were in place the wire could be attached and the fence once again could become stock proof.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

High Lickbarrow Farm. Walling with a tree in mind.

Recently we have been repairing roadside dry stone walls at High Lickbarrow Farm near Windermere.
This particular gap proved to be the most challenging to rebuild. An oak tree, seen behind the mass of ivy, had grown up close to the wall subsequent to it being built. Over many years, as the tree grew, it gradually pushed the wall out of shape and its root system caused further problems to the wall's foundations.
With the wall stripped back it was now clear that a main root had grown through the full width of the wall. No doubt that  this was the main cause of the wall's collapse. 
A technique we have used before is to bridge tree roots in walls; this allows roots room for further growth and helps to lessen their impact on the wall.
 The root has space around it after being bridged.  The rocking motion set up by the root from the swaying of the tree should be less damaging to the wall.
On the roadside the wall was rebuilt following the contours of the tree trunk allowing space for the tree to sway in windy weather... hopefully without affecting the wall. The wall is narrower at this point than is ideal but it is a compromise that will, we think, give the rebuilt wall a chance of staying intact over the long term.
This is the rebuilt wall as seen from the 'field' side...
...with a corresponding image of the wall from the roadside; this shows just how much the tree has encroached on the wall. It made the walling interesting to say the least.
A bonus working at Lickbarrow was seeing the new arrivals to the Scoutbeck herd of Albion cattle. The calves are about two weeks old. Please check the blog for future posts on the Scoutbeck herd of Albion cattle at Lickbarrow.
They are just naturals in front of a camera.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Martin Wood...A Tale Of Two Walls.

This is Martin Wood above Troutbeck Village, close to the start of the track that leads to Wansfell. 
Within lurks some wonderful, largely intact stone work that presumably  formed part of the boundary of an old walled garden that sadly fell into disuse a long time ago.
Interestingly, the wall end stones were specifically shaped to give the imposing main entrance an oblique angle of approximately twenty degrees...astonishing attention to detail. The walling as a whole is a credit to the stonemasons and dry stone wallers of yesteryear. 
This conventional wall end, (again beautifully constructed), had a holly hedge meeting it to form part of the boundary, the old trees of which are to be seen in this image.
The impressive west facing wall, where it is intact,  is over fifteen feet tall. 
The buttresses were probably added later to give the wall some much needed support as it was built on a steep slope.
This is the old holly hedge that links the east facing wall to the west facing wall.
One of the two quarries within the wood supplied stone for the walls.
This is presumably the ruins of the old quarry hut situated close to the main quarry.
A walled Garden with..not too bad a view of Windermere... looking south towards Belle Isle. 
Part of our work involves looking after and repairing woodland boundary walls. We had three wall gaps to do at Martin Wood, two of which were straightforward...The third one was a "Real Duesy"...
...Well I mean, just look at the state of it!
After what seemed like an eternity of clearing the stone and filler back to where the wall was reasonably sound...
...we were able to dig out...
 ...reposition the foundation stones, and start rebuilding.
Because the wall is well over six feet in height on the field side, most of the top stones were put in place on the wooded side where, as can be seen, there is a marked disparity between the two levels!
The finished job.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Helicopter Lift at Troutbeck Park Farm.

A large quantity of  fencing materials required  transporting onto difficult to access upland areas of  the National Trust farm, Troutbeck Park Farm...(including The Tongue and Yoke). A helicopter lift was deemed to be the most cost effective and efficient means of achieving this. 

British International Helicopters were contracted to do the work here, and elsewhere in The Lakes, by the National Trust in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority.

The fencing materials are needed to repair flood damaged boundaries and to stock proof certain areas from sheep; the aim here is to improve wood pasture land by a conservation grazing regime with limited numbers of cattle.

Prior to the day of the lift, much preparation work was needed such as stacking the fence posts into bundles and roping them up. The stock netting and barb wire were put into one tonne bags.

Leo, the Knot Maestro! 

Quantities of fencing materials and even more 'bundles' higher up the slope.

The British International Helicopters' BK 117 C1 G-RESC refuelling on the day of the 'lift'...May the fifth.

The lift in progress...this helicopter has a lifting capacity of 1.2 tonnes.

A close up....

...and an image at 25X zoom, approaching the drop zone.


Another 100 posts on their way to The Tongue, the summit of which can be seen in the background.

With special thanks to the pilot and ground crew of British International Helicopters.

All the fencing materials were flown to their designated drop zones in less than half a day...Impressive!