News from John Atkinson for January 2012

  • Moss Eccles' Dam Inspection

    10:00 27 January 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    this is what keeps the tarn a tarn!

    Moss Eccles & Beatrix Potter
    Moss Eccles Tarn on Claife Heights above Near Sawrey was one of Beatrix Potter’s favourite locations in the area. She entrusted its care to the National Trust after she died and it 's a good example of the way the Beatrix Potter legacy is present in much of the countryside conservation work we do today in this area.


    The dam inspection
    As National Trust Rangers we regularly monitor the dam’s wall for damage and check water levels. Formal annual inspections take place and this month saw the big 10 year inspection of  the Moss Eccles dam. We await the final report, and hope that there are no major works required, but if we do have to spend money on repairs it will be worth it to protect this special place.
     Moss Eccles & Wildlife
    The tarn is part of the Claife Tarn and Mires Site of Special Scientific Interest and on a hot day in Summer it’s a great place to see dragonflies and damselflies. 

    However, last Summer at Moss Eccles I  came upon one of the more bizarre spectacles that I have witnessed in my job as a countryside Ranger, this was a rare sighting of the Lake District Pink 'Gorilla', I’m not sure what Beatrix Potter would have made of it? (see what you think!)  It turned out to be a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the threats to Orang-utans and their habitats.
    not the regular Moss Eccles wildlife!
    Listen out for Tawny Owls
    January is a good month to listen out for Tawny Owls as they are particularly active at the moment, the males are protecting territories and looking to attract their mates at this time of year and can be heard calling  in the dark evenings and mornings. Listen out for the females who call ( "twit "! ) and the males who reply ( "who ?" ).  Click here to Find out more about Tawny Owls.



    Blog post and Moss Eccles photos by ranger Paul F 
    Tawny Owl photo by Jusben at Morguefile.com



  • The Tale of Four Little Pigs

    15:50 19 January 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    is this what they mean by free range pork?
     Proving life is never dull as a National Trust ranger, our Lead Ranger John has spent some time this week sorting out the’Tale of Four Little Pigs’.
    The Tale began at the weekend when John was contacted by several people who told him that a small group of pigs had appeared in one of our car parks near Coniston Water. It seems that the pigs may just have been left there and they have now set up home in our adjacent wood. John’s enquiries with farms nearby, the police, RSPCA and DEFRA have failed to provide any further information and no owner has stepped forward.

    Luckily the Tale can have a happy ending as John himself has a farm close by and will be able to give them a home … all he has to do now is trot down there, snout around a bit and catch them!

    Story by Linda
    [photo credit Dayve Ward]
  • Sun at last!

    09:00 17 January 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    one of our local sheep happy to be dry for a change
    After one of the wettest winters we can remember at last we've had a spell of great weather to enjoywhile we're outside and getting on with our winter work. One local resident at least seemed pleased!
    
    
    
    an unfortunate beech tree - victim of the recent very windy weather
    The recent storms brought down quite a few trees in the Coniston and Hawkshead area and the valley's been buzzing with the sound of chainsaws as different members of our team have been "tidying up". We're hoping that the rest of January is kinder to us weather-wise.

News from John Atkinson

Photo of John Atkinson

Lead Ranger.
I have lived and worked in the Lakes for most of my life both as a farmer and for the last 20+ years as a National Trust employee. Over the years I have worked right across the Lakes firstly as a practitioner repairing walls and footpaths and working on conservation projects. Then more recently managing upland access projects and advising on access and erosion issues, before gaining my current position managing the Ranger team in the South Lakes. I am also a very passionate supporter of rural skills and upland farming and sit on the national committee of the DSWA and also the Federation of Cumbrian Commoners. When not at work I run a 200ha upland farm with my family where we keep traditional breeds of cattle and sheep and assist in conservation grazing schemes.

Blog:
http://www.countryside-catchup.blogspot.co.uk/