Monday, 22 October 2018

From Mighty Acorns....or Shed Some Light.

As part of a woodland management scheme, a group of oaks were due to be felled in High Hag Wood above the Footprint.

James Archer, (Area Ranger CEL), decided the wood could be put to good use for constructing a green oak  fire-wood store/tool shed to replace the old delapidated one.
Group-felling breaks up woodland structures, where trees are of a similar age and size. Creating new gaps with more light will encourage oak, rowan, birch, and hazel, to regenerate.

By developing patches of trees of differing ages and sizes, woodlands will become more varied and diverse.
Liam Plummer,Central and East Lakes, Woodland Ranger.

  Richard Tanner, the Woodland Ranger for South lakes, had already agreed to lead a Working Holiday Group to construct the framework for the shed out of the felled oak. Richard has successfully led groups at Wray Castle and Base Camp on similar 'green oak' building projects. 
Contractors with a chain saw mill processed the oak logs into timber to the required specifications.

The timber was brought down to the Footprint by power barrow.
Joinery work (NO NAILS!) was carried out inside the Footprint as well as outside on the decking. The frame work was assembled inside the Footprint and then taken down to be reassembled on its chosen permanent site.

Richard casting a critical eye!
Assembling the frame-work on the newly prepared pad.
A job well done and right on schedule! With Richard's skillful guidance, The Group can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved in just a week.

Larch cladding was provided by NT Boon Crag sawmill. The rangers and a volunteer at St. Catherine's  fitted this around the oak framework, to show it off to its best advantage.

Putting on the roof was the next stage.
Roofing complete and under the eaves a newly installed nesting box.
The smaller of the two doorways under construction.
Finally the build is complete with doors and beautiful rustic handles.

 Thanks to Richard and Hugo from South Lakes, the Working holiday Group, Boon Crag saw mill, Ian Taylor and Stuart Morley.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

A Monster Wall Gap...rebuilt through effective team effort!

Having been weakened by Storm Desmond back in December 2015 a large section of wall finally collapsed, in several stages, above 'Seldom Seen' overlooking Ullswater.

NT Rangers and volunteers from Ullswater and Windermere had the daunting task of rebuilding it!

The wall is adjacent to the footpath to Sheffield Pike; the gap was over 30 feet in length.
The wall was severely undermined by torrents of water. This section had to be taken down  to allow replacement foundation stones to be reset.
One of the truly massive foundation stones being levered back into place; this was not a task for the faint of heart!
Another, even bigger stone...
...was finally re-positioned with a few choice words of encouragement!
A view of the foundations gradually being put in place. It can be seen how steep the slope is;  many of the stones had tumbled down the bank and they had to laboriously be brought back up again.
Again, it is clear to see in this image just how steep the slope is.
Walling up on the low side of the wall.
The old concrete pipe was damaged in the wall's collapse so a new wider diameter pipe was brought in as a suitable replacement.
Walling over the pipe.
The wall is over 10 feet high on the down slope and at this stage the walling will have to be completed from the high side by walling 'over-hand'.
The pipe is in position ready to take the flow of the beck the next time it is in spate.
Some of the biggest stones we have seen in a dry-stone wall.
The wall is well on its way to completion
Another view with stone still to be dragged up the bank to be used in the wall.
Putting on the top stones or cams
Nearly up to height...
...and a view of the completed wall. The pipe will be trimmed but some overhang is desirable to allow the flow of water to clear the wall and hopefully reduce the chance of damage to the foundations in the future.

It took a team of between three and four, (depending on the days worked), to complete the work in just under five days.

Friday, 5 October 2018

'Rare Albion cattle recognised on the RBST Watchlist'.

Extracts from Media Release Issued: 03/10/2018.

'Surviving against the odds, an historic cattle breed has been formally recognised for the first time since the 1960's. Rare Breeds Survival Trust has just welcomed the very rare Albion cattle onto the Watchlist as a recognised UK native rare breed.'

'Gail Sprake, Chairman of RBST said, "Here at RBST we proudly boast that no breed has become extinct since we formed in 1973, but we so easily could have been proven wrong by failing to recognise these cattle. The Albions have had a dramatic reversal of fortune since their heyday in the 1920's, but we hope that this recognition will herald the start of a new chapter for the breed"

'The National Trust look after an historic herd at High Lickbarrow near Windermere which means the public can admire and support this incredibly endangered breed'.


In the light of this potentially encouraging news for the future of the Albion breed here are some images... (that I have taken over the last three years)... of the wonderful Scout Beck Herd of Albions at High Lickbarrow.

Originally from Derbyshire, Blue Albions had the name shortened to Albion because true breds may be blue roan, white, or mainly black with a little white as evidenced by the three calves above. 
Unusually in cattle, white is the dominant gene and as such is the 'true breeding'.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A Stitch In Time

 The country-side rangers duties include regular patrols, usually on a weekly basis, of the lake-shore properties to check on any problems and deal with them.
 Litter picking and  pulling out invasive himalayan balsam takes up a fair amount of this time.
Whilst checking Galava, located  at the head of Windermere, we discovered that there had been a collapse over the covered culvert through which Fisherbeck runs; sometimes the culvert is unable to contain the volume of water, after heavy rainfall, and it will find a weak spot and punch a way through.

As this culvert is close to a very popular footpath to the Roman Fort, and the fact cattle graze this area we needed to repair it as quickly as possible!
We put in place a large traffic cone to warn of and at the same time cover the hole.
Luckily we were able to locate a large slate to cover the hole.

With the recent heay rain it wasn't possible to effect a full rebuild of the collapsed culvert but this will be done when the water levels have dropped.

This sort of problem does highlight the importance of regular patrols, particularly of the most popular sites!