Team news for September 2011

  • Finishing off the top Section of path at Mickleden

    09:04 30 September 2011
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Over the last couple of weeks we've been finishing off replacing the old and steep section of path at Mickleden, and landscaping the newly built path to help it blend in with it's surroundings.

    With all the pitching now completed and the drains in place, we got on with roughing up the edges of the path with left over stone to make things look a bit more natural and also to encourage people not to wander off the path and create another erosion problem.

    Moving a stone into position to help reduce corner cutting

    Flat sections off the path were also made less attractive to walk on by digging holes and putting in smaller stones, that had been dug out while replacing the path. These stones were covered over with the soil that had been removed from the hole and the turf placed back on top, to create bumpy areas. This also helps to tidy up the area, rather than leaving a lot of left-over waste material around the worksite.

    Once this was done we put down some grass seed and fertilizer. Though it's a little late in the season there's still a good chance that much of the seed will lay dormant over winter and sprout next spring. We'll come back and check it's progress in 2012 and if required put more seed down over the next couple of years.

    The completed path, with freshly seeded areas

    With the main section of path now finished we've moved on to some work lower down the path. We're mostly replacing sections where the steps are a bit too high, either because of the way the path was built, or because the ground has now eroded away since they were put in. Once we've finished these last few sections it should make for a far more pleasant walk down.

    Replacing one of the short sections of path
  • Wind damage on Silver How

    19:58 27 September 2011
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    The Lakes suffered some quite strong winds a few weeks ago causing many branches to fall over paths.
    Part of our work is to keep paths clear and safe for our visitors. Many National Trust Rangers are trained in the use of Chainsaws to undertake small tree felling and cross cutting, any larger or more dangerous tasks are carried out by our own forestry teams.

    This oak branch had split from its main trunk and came down over the path leading to Silver How in Grasmere.

    Using the Chainsaw to clear away the small branches first, so access to the larger limbs are made easier to cross cut.

    Cross cutting the final limb to open up the path.

  • Landslide at Burtness Wood

    11:20 22 September 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner

    This landslide occurred at the top of Burtness Wood back in June 2011. This landslide caused a fair bit of damage to the landscape. The picture shows how the landslide tore its way down the hill side. It then ploughed through the boundary fence of Burtness Wood, taking the fence as one of its victims. The landslide carried on down through the wood, taking everything down that got in its way. Fixing the damage is one of the upcoming projects in our busy work programme.

  • Elterwater mermorial gate

    11:50 17 September 2011
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    Today we have been installing a new oak gate at the start of the Elterwater path. This gate has been  made by the Trusts own Joiners using money donated to someones memory.
    We start by removing the old gate system and digging the holes for the hanging posts and closing posts. These have to be deep enough to hold the weight of a oak gate.

    We use the arm of the digger to gently pull out the old gate stoop (cheating) while being careful not to damage the beck wall.

    The Elterwater path is one of the most popular with lots of visitors enjoying the walk from Elterwater to Slelwith Bridge everyday. A designated bridlepath, Its a beautiful walk for all ages and disabilities, talking in some fantastic views of the Langdales and Elterwater. At the Skelwith end of the path stop to look at Skelwith force and the spectacular Woodburn Bridge. Erected in 2006 and named after a Skelwith Parish Council chairman, its location is amazing. Chester's Cafe is nice sight for many.

    Making sure the hole is deep enough before we put the closing post in. From there we use rocks to jam the post in the hole. This is the post that gate strikes against and must be solid to cope with the gate opening and closing thousands of times

     We have to make the path stock proof, Herdwick sheep could easily jump over the section of beck wall by the side of the gate.

    We use oak rails to match the gate to create a small post and rail fence to keep stock from getting on to the path.

     Job finished and ready to be enjoyed by many. The path is prone to flooding with damage still visible from the floods of 2009, we hope to secure funding for repairs very soon.

  • Continuing the work at Mickleden

    08:00 08 September 2011
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Since working with the National Trust volunteers on the Working Holiday, we've continued to replace the old section of pitching at Mickleden, making it more user-friendly by re-aligning the path, adding some bends and reducing the height of the steps. We've now almost fully completed this section and it's really starting to take shape.

    A section of the almost finished path

    You can see in the image below, with only a few metres left until the path is finished, how it now winds it's route through the landscape. The bank of soil that can be seen in the distance, between Pete and Leo, shows the original line of the path. By adding a series of bends, rather than taking a more direct route, the gradient is greatly reduced making it much easier to walk down.

    The path, showing the new line and the old route

    With the path being on such a steep slope, during heavy rain there is a lot of surface water that if left to it's own devices would run straight down the path and likely cause damage. To help address this problem, we arranged a day with the Fix the Fells volunteers to build a turf drain across the slope. This feeds the rainwater into a stone drain that is built into the path, which then sheds it out of the way.

    Volunteers digging out a turf drain

    Over the next week, we'll get the last few sections joined up, cover over much of the soil with turfs, and re-seed the whole area around the path and between the pitching. Providing that most of the seed germinates (we'll put some more down next spring/summer if it's required) by this time next year you'll hardly know that that the original route ever existed.