Team news for February 2012

  • Exciting news

    22:18 29 February 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    Today marks the beginning of an exciting new venture for the National Trust and the Central & East Lakes Team. We are now the proud owners of the Stickle Barn Tavern in Great Langdale.

    The Tavern is situated next to the National Trust car park near the head of Great Langdale and will, no doubt, become a welcome sight for many walkers returning from a fabulous day`s walking on the Langdale Pikes and surrounding fells. With popular walks to Stickle Tarn, Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle, we hope the Tavern will become the gate way to the Langdales for many.

    Good food, great local ale and a fantastic atmosphere, we hope to welcome our visitors time and time again.

    We will be updating the blog with news from the tavern over the coming weeks. So why not call in and say hello.

  • The Return of `Gallop Girl`

    20:05 29 February 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    Running in sync` (pardon the pun), Miranda, our intrepid volunteer is blogging her account of her preparations to take part in the Grasmere Gallop 2012.

    Check out Miranda`s training blog at

    A brilliant read.

    Gallop girl in GG2011

    For more information and online entries please go to
  • Chocka Block Feb!

    09:12 29 February 2012
    By Jo Day

    February has absolutely flown by here at Sandscale and the reason is because we've packed so much in. The biggest job on this month was the maintenance on the car park. Not only have we had contractors in to resurface it, but we have cut down the over grown sycamore coppice and shown the bracken the brushcutter. Our regular conservation volunteers were a great help in this as they were patient enough to control traffic as the trees came down, and got down to some hard core bracken raking and burning after we had finished cutting it.

    We have been participating with Barrow's Wildside Project, an Access to Nature Partnership with Natural England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Barrow Borough Council. This month it involved running a weekend volunteer day repairing the revetments in the stream, clearing vegetation from the natterjack scrapes and encroaching grass on the boardwalks.

    We had a great day and much more was achieved than we expected to be done on the one day. The volunteers worked like machines and certainly earned themselves their tea and biscuits! Thank you.

    Today has been a day a bit out of the norm, as we have been celebrating the importance of volunteering and using this extra day the leap year has given us, by volunteering ourselves as part of the National Trust 'Local Leap' initative. We spent the morning at Barrow's Marsh Street Arches and Community Garden known as Green Heart Den. The Community Interest Company has developed a derelict area into a beautiful urban green space which is being used by local people to learn new skills and develop old ones, as well as local school children to learn about nature and the outdoor environment, or a space to relax in and enjoy.

    We laid down some new top soil around the boundary of the plot and planted wild flower seeds. We also moved some of this improved top soil from its current position on a site adjacent to the existing garden ahead of new developments taking place for their project.

    Wildlife this month

    Throughout the year we collate bird records for the BTO Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). February has picked up the Bar tailed godwit and the Golden plover, two species that are not usually recorded on survey day. Pintail are also regularly spotted in the estuary.

    The 28th Feb was a good day for firsts as the first Dune pansy was seen out in flower and also our first sighting of frog spawn and turned over pond weed suggesting that newts have been laying too.
  • Wood working.

    16:48 28 February 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    As part of the work we are doing on the Derwentwater foreshore and Friars Crag I have recently been installing a length of riven oak post and rail fencing.  Riven oak is an old tradition of making posts and rails by riving the wood along its grain.  In the past we’ve prepared our own but this was bought in. Its advantages include that it lasts a lot longer and it looks better than clean-cut softwood.

    It is more expensive to install than softwood but, considering the extra life we will get from the material, it is a good investment.  Funding is coming from the lottery as it is part of the foreshore development and the Trust is installing it.  So, with the help of one of our volunteers. I have installed a short section as a trial.  We laid a short section of hedge to strengthen it and then the new fence was installed.  If it is successful, we’ll use the same technique elsewhere on Friars Crag.

    Phase 1:  Laying the hedge.

    Reiver still enjoys her outings and  meeting people but needs more rest stops these days!

     Styles of hedge-laying vary across the country.  This trial stretch uses plants that are rather thin because they are growing in little soil on stony ground.  To encourage stronger growth, they have been cut and bent to ground level where they can set new roots.  Meanwhile the fence will protect it.  The idea is to improve wild-life habitats.  About two years ago, we laid 140 metres of a similarly sparse hedge and it is now thriving.  All being well, this year it will be home to considerably more than the two nests it accommodated when we began its improvement.

    Phase 2:  Installing posts and rails.

    If we find that this trial section is successful, more of this work will be carried out on Friars Crag.  It will look good; it will protect vegetation from trampling and it will provide better wild-life habitats. 
    Phase 3:  Happy Naomi (coordinator of the project).

  • Hedgerows - a thorny subject.

    14:27 27 February 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Of all the components that make up the glorious landscape that is the Lake District, hedgerows must be one of the most taken for granted. So important from an aesthetic point of view, but perhaps even more so for the micro ecosystems that they form. Quite high maintenance, but so worth it. Now comes a great chance to learn more about these ancient land boundaries, and to get some practical hands on involvement in their conservation. The date is this Sunday 4th March, the venue is High Nook Farm at Loweswater and you can park at Maggies Bridge Car Park. This can be a bit tricky to find so look out for signs on the main Loweswater road. The grid ref is NY134 421 and the post code is CA13 0RU Come along any time between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Bring boots or wellies and we will provide gloves. Dont forget a packed lunch if you plan to spend a lot of time with us. And if its value for money that you're after, well this event is free, you cannot get better value than that!
  • Our annual Mountain and Rivers day with Hawkshead primary school.

    10:00 24 February 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    This saw us guiding the children round our Coniston and Little Langdale patch with them undertaking practical survey tasks along the way.

    Firstly the children measured temperature, wind speed, elevation, and carried out flora and landscape surveys in their own school grounds. Leaving the school and visiting Tarn Hows, and Side Pike in Little Langdale the children were able to do the exercises again and compare and contrast what they had seen, and talk about the differences between the sites visited. It was also a good opportunity for the children to see and understand the impact humans have had on the landscape over the centuries.

    Next came rivers. We stopped at two locations, to measure width, depth and flow and compared the findings between the two sites. For staff and children this mini-beast survey is the best part, as using nets and trays the children have to identify what they find in their nets.

    Also on the agenda was archaeology. We visited Ting Mount in Little Langdale (this is a very important archaeological feature and was a meeting place or local parliament for Viking settlers); Side Pike (the site of an ancient axe factory); and Copt Howe in Langdale (it has rock carvings between 2000 and 4000 years old.)

    Although the Lakeland weather with wind and heavy rain was not kind to us these are Cumbrian children, and well used to it! - their spirits were high and a good day was had by all.

    post and photos by ranger Stuart
  • Path improvements at Allan Bank

    08:05 24 February 2012
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    As part of our ongoing improvements to the network of footpaths at Allan Bank we've been working on a section of wooden risers (steps) that run from the slate steps to the entrance of the tunnel. We decided that wooden risers were needed for this section as it's pretty steep and if left alone it's likely that the path would have deteriorated.

    Constructing the risers

    The risers are constructed using wooden posts and rails. The rail is cut into lengths the width of the footpath and once the ground level has been established a trench is dug out for the rail to sit in. Once this is done, two posts are knocked in at either side of the rail and the rail is then nailed to the posts. Another one or two lengths of rail are then attached depending on how high you want each step to be. This is repeated until you reach an incline that is less steep and therefore less likely to erode.

    Once all the risers were in position the next thing to do was to edge them with timber. Several small trees have been recently felled both for safety reasons and also for thinning the woodland. So we took advantage of this and cut them into suitable lengths and put them into position against the edge of the path.

    Edging with some felled tree trunks 

    With the edging in place it was time to gravel in between the risers. For this we were assisted by the Fix the Fells volunteers.

    Moving the gravel 

    With all hands on deck we shifted the gravel with a fleet of wheelbarrows and we soon had the new risers filled in with a good layer of gravel.

    Freshly gravelled risers

    After a lot more shovelling and many more wheelbarrow loads we were finally gravelled all the way into the tunnel.

    Entrance to the tunnel
  • An unexpected adventure.

    14:06 22 February 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    Despite what has been a mixed bag of weather, we have just had a little surge in visitor numbers over the half-term week.  We have also had a little flurry of mountain rescue call-outs including a few lower leg injuries (these make up a big proportion of our calls) and some mountain biking incidents.

    No pictures of a rescue in the dark but these show a choppy Derwentwater and islands.
     A rather unusual call came from a father, his son and a friend who planned a canoe and camping trip on Derwentwater but ended up marooned on two different islands in the lake.  Their story shows just how easily plans can go awry. 

    Their adventure began when they travelled from Liverpool to Penrith by train and then a bus from Penrith to Keswick and a second bus along the lake to Calf Close Bay.  They inflated two canoes and father and friend paddled across to St Herberts Island taking the camping equipment over.  Father returned with both canoes to collect his son.  By then the light was fading fast; it was cold and windy and the water was choppy.  On the return journey, and fortunately quite close to Rampsholme Island, both father and son found themselves overboard and in the water.  They were able to reach the island but were faced with what would have rapidly become a dangerous situation - a cold, windy, wet night with no equipment.  So they did the sensible thing and, using a mobile phone that had somehow stayed dry, they called out the rescue team.  We were able to quickly bring them back to a warm, dry hostel.

    It would be easy to think that they had been stupid but really they just unintentionally overstretched their boundaries.  They had shown admirable initiative travelling from a city by train and buses to have an adventure experience.   The rescue team did have to step in but, with slightly better judgement about equipment and the weather conditions, it could easily have been a successful  adventure.   The spirit and initiative behind the outing were great.  In both the Trust and the Rescue Team we want people to experience and enjoy the outdoors and that’s what they set out to do. There was nothing wilfully reckless about what they did.  There’s a limit to what can be learned without actually doing something and many of us can reflect on those occasions where we learned a lot from an experience that didn’t quite work out as we planned!  They certainly had an adventure story to tell when they arrived home.

    Postscript:  The Owl Prowl I mentioned attracted 103 people who had a great evening walk in the woods followed by encounters with owls in the Trust’s barn.

  • Rohan interview

    22:19 20 February 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    Neil Winder Area Ranger for Grasmere & Great Langdale has recently been interviewed by outdoor clothing specialists Rohan.
    Paul Russell manager of Rohan Ambleside and author of microview, the popular series on the Rohantime web-site conducted a series of interesting questions to ask Neil about the work of a National Trust Ranger.
    The full interview can be seen by clicking the link below.

  • Repairing the steps at Allan Bank

    11:12 20 February 2012
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Since our last update we're still busily working away at Allan Bank, in preparation for opening the doors to visitors at the end of March.

    Our first job was to repair a section of slate steps. There are several sections of similar steps scattered around the woods at Allan Bank but over the years they have all fallen badly into disrepair.

    Steps in need of repair

    Firstly we removed most of the moss from the steps and photographed them for our records. With this done it was time to take them apart.

    Stripping the steps down

    Once the steps had been dismantled we began to re-assemble them but this time we used cement between the courses so there would be no risk of the steps coming loose. For their intended purpose they would have been fine without the cement (although we did find a few patches of mortar when we took them apart) as few people would have ever walked up them. With the gardens soon to be opened to the public it is important for them to be much more durable.

    Battling on through the snow

    After just over a weeks work the new steps were all finished and ready to be used.

    The completed steps

    To improve the bit of path leading to the steps we rebuilt a couple of sections of retaining wall (revetment) which is there to stop the path from falling away as it is built across a slope. There was an old retaining wall, but little of it remained so it was a case of stripping down what was left of the old wall and rebuilding it more or less from scratch.

    Retaining wall during construction

    Once the wall was finished we topped it with some slates, to tie it in it's appearance with that of the steps, and put down a layer of gravel to improve the surface.

    Finished wall with the gravel in place

    For more news on what's happening at Allan Bank why not pop over to Facebook and give us a "like"? Just click on this link...National Trust Allan Bank Facebook page
  • Back to water - again!

    14:32 17 February 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    A wise man once said to me that he reckoned that over the next 50 years, water will become the biggest issue in the world. And I reckon he's not far wrong. Either too much, or too little. For me, one thing is certain. Climate change is happening. Here in the Lake District we rarely suffer drought conditions, in fact it is normally quite the opposite, what to do with all the rain that does fall! During my time with National Trust it seems that it is not the quantity of rain that has changed, but rather the nature of the rainfall. It does not seem to rain as long as it used to, but when it comes it does so in vast damaging torrents. And somehow we have had to start living with that fact and start adapting our work to suit.

    So here is the tale of an interesting job near the village of Stonethwaite. Recent flooding is repeatedly devastating this small, but significant junction of paths. It has made life awkward for farmers and for walkers alike. Gutters that cannot cope, and an ancient wall system that has acted like a dam, have combined to bring about an unsustainable situation.

    We have used contractors and a 5 tonne digger to clear out the gutters and move some key boulders into position. This has enabled us to build a low wall to protect a wooden pillar that will support 2 hecks. The hecks will allow the water to flow and spread, rather than build up & damage. Using the large boulders as edging stones we have employed the ancient skill of pitching to produce a sustainable path surface.

    Finally, with the help of our regular Thursday volunteers, Robert and Rod, we have built and positioned the new hecks.

    The job has taken a while as the cold snap limited the amount of work that we could achieve, but the job is coming on, and will be finished towards the end of February. We'll show you some "after" pictures when it is all complete.
  • Eventful week

    13:17 17 February 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd

    Our event season got off to a fantastic start as over 100 people joined us for our "Owls in the Woods and Owls in the Barn" extravaganza. An atmospheric stroll up into Great Wood was followed by a talk & demonstration of 3 owls that the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre had brought along for us to meet. First up our native, and much loved, Barn Owl, followed by an exotic Malayan Wood Owl (which looked curiously like a monkey), and then the undoubted star of the show, a Great Grey Owl. This latter species is the third largest Owl in the world. So when it spread its 4 foot wings it caused a bit of a flutter; when it flew across the workshop, just above the heads of our gathered throng, it was a seriously thrilling moment! As an organisation, we are really trying to allow people to feel closer to nature. This fun and informative event did just that. Our thoughts are already turning to next year, and how we can make this an even better do.

    Meanwhile we have more wonderful and diverse events coming up. Sunday 4th March is an open invitation for some hands on experience of hedgerows and hedge laying, whilst Sunday 18th March sees the focus turn to Loweswater for a walk and talk about the conservation of this lovely pastoral lake. Keep reading here and we will keep you posted a bit nearer the time.
  • The best laid plans .....

    10:00 17 February 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    The working holiday - that's as far as they got on the first day!
    Up here at High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre we're pretty busy all year round with, as you'd expect, volunteers. The exception to this tends to be through the worst of the winter when the weather's too bad to get out and do much work. We use this period to do all our planning and maintenance work for the year ahead, cleverly holding off on booking too many volunteer groups in until the worst of the weather has passed. Or at least, that's the theory. You can never be too sure of anything with the British (and especially Cumbrian) weather and so the first day of our first working holiday of the year - hedgelaying - coincided with the heaviest snowfall of the winter.

    Normally, bad weather means we can't get a car up the Basecamp track. This time though, we couldn't even get to the track and had a 2 1/2 mile walk in.  Most of the working holiday participants had made it as they came the day before, but we didn't get any work done this day. You try laying a hedge when it's buried in snow .....
    The log pile under construction.

    So this first day set the scene for a varied week. We hire a minibus for our working holidays to use to get to the work site, but it didn't leave Basecamp grounds all week. We had to abandon the hedge we were planning to work on and change to one closer by as we were ferrying everyone back and forth to the work site in our own 4x4. This worked well until the Thursday when freezing rain meant even that couldn't get out and our amazingly game group spent the day scraping ice off of the track and building a log pile.
    The group with their completed stretch.
    But despite all this adversity, we got to site for four good days hedgelaying and the group did a splendid job with everyone declaring they'd had a great week. Just goes to show that with a bit of team spirit and good humour (and, admittedly, a lot of cakes) you don't need things to go exactly to plan to have a good time!

    post and photos by Rob
  • Snow and bird hotels

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

    Just outside the office door - Coniston Water
     Let it snow......

    First challenge of the week….try to get to work! Like a lot of the country, the South Lakes was blanketed with the first snow of winter. Absolutely stunning to look at but a bit restrictive to work in, so many of the Ranger team took the opportunity to catch up on the all important paper work. Photos of the Ranger team sat at a computer are not the most interesting, so here are some of the South Lakes property in the snow instead!



    View from Wray Castle


    With the snow comes an opportunity to see what’s been out and about on our doorstep as foot prints and tracks are everywhere. These are just a couple of our neighbours here:          

                                                Rabbit footprint
    Red deer footprint



    National Nest Box Week

    At this time of year some birds are starting to mate and nest. However, like now conditions can be harsh, so food and shelter can be in short supply. Next week sees the start of National Nest Box Week running from 14th to 21st February, encouraging people to put up nest boxes at this time of year. For more information check out the BTO website.

    It's great for birds and wildlife, and on the property we are hoping to put up a Barn Owl box as one has been seen in the area. Fingers crossed we get some new residents in situ soon.......

    post by Phil
    photos by Phil
  • Come for an owl prowl.

    17:12 09 February 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    Have you ever wanted a close look at an owl?  Well, here's your chance for a rare close encounter.

    Next week during half-term, you can join our 'Owls in the wood and owls in the barn' event.  It begins with a walk in Great Wood where, with luck, tawny owls can be seen on their silent hunt for food. It then moves into our barn where you can have a close look at just how beautiful these birds are. Details as below:

    Date:  Wednesday February 15th

    Time:  6.30 p.m.

    Venue:  Meet at Bowe Barn, the National Trust base which is about half a mile from Keswick on the Borrowdale Road.

    Cost:  Adults £3.50 and children £2

    Come in warm clothing and bring a torch.

    This is the first of a number of events that will take place throughout the year. We are already beginning planning to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and are having discussions with local Scout groups about having a beacon on Catbells.  I'll let you know in good time when that will happen.  If the weather allows, this will look quite spectacular so fingers crossed!

  • Owls in the wood and owls in the barn

    11:43 08 February 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd

    Owls - what's not good about owls?
    But how many people have seen them up close & personal? Even in my long years with the National Trust I've only seen one or two, always at dusk, and usually gliding silently along hedgerows, seeking a meal. And always the thing that makes the most impression is the graceful silence of their flight. But its always occasional and always fleeting.
    Now is a chance to see these lovely birds in close up as the National Trust in the North Lakes kick starts its seasonal events programme with a great chance to actually meet live owls. The date for your diary is Weds 15th February. Meet at our Bowe Barn Base just half a mile outside Keswick on the Borrowdale Road. Be there for 6:30 for a short, easy, but atmospheric walk up into Great Wood which is home to Tawny Owls, then back to Bowe Barn to see live owls in action.
    It promises to be a fantastic evening, a very rare opportunity to see and learn about these enigmatic creatures.
    Price is just £3.50 for adults and £2.00 for children, terrific value for money for a great night out and of course it's half term, so no school in the morning!
    Follow the National Trusts North Lakes Rangers here, and we will keep you up to date with all the great events that are happening throughout the year.
  • Not totally different from the mountains!

    09:31 08 February 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    I had a change of scenery last week when I popped out to the coast and met the Trust’s ranger Chris and two representatives of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). The BMC had asked us to look at a site on St Bees Head sea cliffs where a lot of climbing takes place.  These cliffs are designated a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) bird reserve.  The BMC and RSPB have an existing understanding about using these cliffs without disturbing nesting birds in what is an important site.

    During the nesting season, this is a birder’s paradise with its teeming masses of nesting sea birds.  It is where you can see the only English nesting site for the amber-listed Black Guillemots.  For a list of the others go to

    The BMC has done some work in the past on access and erosion control and they asked Chris and me along to see if we can advise them about how to sensitively maintain and improve an access path down the cliff.

    There is a farm on the headland with a camping barn and it would be ideal if the BMC could have a work group staying there.  They could provide the materials and voluntary labour and Chris and I, working for the Trust, could provide the advice and necessary tools for the task. The BMC is taking the lead on this but we would contribute technical advice about installing and maintaining sustainable paths on steep terrain which is what we are used to doing in the mountains.

    It was a very useful site visit and meeting.   As ever, it is a question of balancing a range of uses of the landscape and it would be good to have a joint working programme with them. 

    While we were there, Chris and I spotted something in the water below.  After some time observing its behavior, we concluded it was most likely a seal.  It was just too distant to be sure and the photographs I took were inconclusive but both seals and sea otters can be seen from the headland.

    Leave a comment if you can identify this!
    We have also done more work at Braithwaite.  A contractor has been in with a JCB installing a large pipe as part of the drainage project. 

    Once that was done I was back with volunteers putting finishing touches. 
    One of our youngest volunteers (he brought his Dad with him!)

    All being well, the flood risk to the village will have been significantly reduced – these volunteers have much to be proud of.
  • You can help us improve our Social Networking

    18:51 06 February 2012
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Now we've been blogging for almost one year and we've just reached 1000 followers on Twitter, it would be great if you could give us a bit of feedback on just how you think we're doing. 

    So we've set up a quick survey (it really does only take a minute or two to fill in) and it'll help us to choose which direction we take things. Providing there's the interest, it will give us a good starting point before running some more detailed questionnaires in the future to fine tune things a little. Thanks for your support!

    Click here for the link to the survey...Fell Rangers Social Networking Survey The survey will remain open until the 5th March 2012.
  • Guards Wood needed guarding

    10:00 03 February 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    the gateway before work
     Sheep and woodland don't mix
    If sheep get into woodland they graze on the flora and browse on the woodland which affects the woodland structure and the biodiversity. It can also create problems for the farmer as it is difficult to gather the sheep, and the sheep may get into difficulty or eat something that is bad for them. For example the needles and seeds of Yew trees are highly poisonous to sheep. Helping to secure gates against sheep is an ideal job for us in the winter. 

    A winter task for our footpath team at Guards Wood
    At this time of the year although we're the Upland Footpath team (one of four National Trust Footpath teams working in the Lake District) we spend most of the time doing lower level work in the countryside. The shorter days and poorer weather mean it is not possible for us to continue working on the fells throughout the winter.  There is plenty to keep us busy and no shortage of gaps in dry stone walls to repair. An interesting change from wall gaps has been to install new gates on two paths that lead into Guards Wood near Coniston. 

    the gateway work-in-progress
    Glen finishing off
    The existing paths went through field gates into the woods but there have been problems with these gates being left open and sheep from the adjacent farm fields getting into the woodland.
    Our task was to take down a section of dry stone wall next to the existing gate, installing an additional five foot gate, rebuilding the “quoin” end of the wall and re-profiling the land around each new gate. We had help from two volunteers, Glenn and Luke, which meant we finished the work in half the time anticipated.

    The new gates are sprung so that they shut themselves and the main field gates can now be padlocked shut. This will hopefully keep the sheep from “escaping” into the woodland.

    Elsewhere an unusual wildlife sighting
    interested spectators
    We do some upland footpath maintenance in the winter, to ensure the drainage is working and to carry out minor repairs. 

    A bonus whilst doing this recently was we saw a herd of Red Deer on Martcrag Moor (near Pike O’Stickle) in the Langdales, an unusual sight.

    post and photos by upland footpath team member Nick

  • Grasmere Gallop 2012 Saturday 9th June 2012

    13:05 02 February 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    So, here we go again !  The National Trust Grasmere Ranger team are already busy  preparing for GG2012. Thank you to all of you who helped make our relaunch of the Grasmere Gallop in June 2011 such a success. We are really looking forward to welcoming you, and hopefully many others, back in 2012.
    We want to build on the success of last year and make this years event bigger and better. Please click on the link to take you to our gallop home page where you will find more information and our on line entry page. Grab your running shoes and get active, we want to see you on Saturday June 9th, fun for all ages. Come along and help support the fantastic work of the National Trust in this beautiful location.


  • The weather hasn't stopped us yet!

    15:11 01 February 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    As I write this, the weather we are having right now reminds me that it sometimes controls the jobs we can tackle.  We are now into the fourth day of freezing temperatures.  Today is sunny but even in the valleys the temperature will struggle to rise much above freezing throughout the day.  Fortunately we were still able to do the planned work last weekend (one of my working weekends) but at times the ground can be just too hard to work.

    On Saturday morning I went with three of our regular volunteers up to Watendlath.  We replaced a step-stile over a fence to allow access to a walk along the river.  It isn’t actually a public right of way (PROW) but the Trust does want it to be accessible for walkers.  This was a day that gave us the opportunity to stop and take photographs from Surprise View – you can see why this is a hugely popular viewpoint and the skilled, patient or lucky can take some stunning photos.  Actually, you’d probably have to obscure the lens with a finger to take a bad picture!

    Surprise View

    In the afternoon we moved on to Castlehead.  There is a small crag there that we are encouraging outdoor centres to use for children to learn and practice abseiling skills.  Because it is a small crag, it isn’t used by experienced climbers so there are no conflicting users.  But, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) so we are limiting the area being used at the top and foot of the crag to minimize both damage to vegetation and erosion.  That’s why we were there working on a fence.

    That was two good jobs completed on Saturday and on Sunday we tackled another.

    This time there were 12 volunteers and we joined Naomi on her foreshore project.  There is an access-for-all path that runs from the large car-park through Cockshot Wood to the lake shore.  Like many of these paths it was accumulating a surface layer of mud and leaves.  If we don’t clear it. vegetation will reclaim the path very quickly.  So we set to work and, with a good deal of scraping and brushing, we gave the path its annual clean up.  It’s hard, physical work but it does feel good when we look back at a good, clear path.

    BBC at work

    BBC Look North provided an interesting diversion by coming to film and interview Naomi about working with volunteers on her Derwentwater Foreshore project.

    Where better to take a break?

  • Dry stone walling at Allan Bank, Grasmere

    08:28 01 February 2012
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Over the last couple of weeks we've started work on the exciting new project at Allan Bank in Grasmere. There's loads of work for us to get our teeth into at Allan Bank, but our first job was to improve access into the gardens for some heavy machinery.

    We need to improve the access as part of the restoration work involves removing a lot of Rhododendron and re-instating an old gravel path that has been lost under the vegetation. Our work involved opening up a gateway and widening the entrance to the walled garden, so that it'd be possible to get through with a tracked chipper and a mini-digger.

    The wall needing to be rebuilt to improve access

    We were fortunate that there was a section of wall built up to the walled garden, that had been added to narrow the entrance way, that we were wanting to widen. As it was a later addition and in bad repair it was decided that we could use this section of wall for our repairs.

    Old section of wall that we used as a stone source

    We immediately set about stripping down the wall that had to altered and taking down the old wall for it's stone. We soon ended up with a big pile of rock which was roughly sorted into different stone piles...standard walling stone, stone for the wall top (coping stones), stone for the end of the wall (the coin end), larger "through" stones and small stone for packing out the middle of the wall.

    Taking down the wall to be rebuilt

     After the end of the first day we'd completely taken down the section of wall we were working on and extended it out. This gave us the few extra centimetres that we needed to get the machinery in.

    Starting to take shape

    By the end of the second day we'd finished rebuilding the wall, and it was time to put the top stones in place and as you can see from the tracks in the photo below...plenty of room to get the digger through.

    The Finished Wall