News from Clair Payne for August 2012

  • A red ribbon day

    09:00 31 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    As regular readers of our blog will know already, our rangers team and volunteer groups have been doing a lot of work this year improving access between Wray Castle and Lake Windermere's western shore. Last week, as part of a celebratory bike ride, we had a V.S.P. (very small person), called Leo cut the red ribbon to open up a 2.5km stretch of greatly improved track suitable for all through our land on the western shore of Windermere.
    Leo (aged 4!) doing the honours for us, with a little help from his friends.

    The bikers arrive - now where's the cafe!
    We've been using National Trust funds as well as a variety of grants and donations - much of them tied in with the development of Wray Castle as a visitor attraction this year. However, in February we were approached by staff of the National Park to see if we could use £80,000 to make a transformational step forward. We said yes!

    The work was planned by our Rangers working to a brief given by GoLakes with the goal to attract a new audience to visit the less busy side of the lake by foot, bike or even pram - and travel there and back by boat. Our contractors did a great job - and it is working; we're getting lots of people doing simple activities for the first time.

    The money has come from the 'GoLakes' partnership in the Lake District and is funded by the Department of Transport. The Trust is heavily involved in this exciting project - a one-off chance to really make a difference to sustainable transport in the middle of the Lakes, both in terms of changing how people think as well as physical improvements to infrastructure.

    Here are some reminder photos from earlier blogs about this access work ...
    Blog post  - 'New Ranger at Work'

    Blog post - 'Once More unto the Shore ....'
    We are working on a number of other projects with the same partnership - all aimed at reducing carbon and environmental impact and opening up new opportunities for our visitors. Watch out for more results in the future.

    Post by John Moffat & Linda
    Cycling Photos Osprey Communications
  • Going Batty

    09:00 24 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    This weekend is European Bat Weekend so I thought I would post about these fascinating furry flyers.

    Bats are the only mammals that can truely fly (unlike flying squirells who just glide from tree to tree).  Contry to Hollywood myth they won't suck your blood or get tangled in your hair.  Most bats emerge just after sunset to hunt flying insects, a pipestrelle can eat up to 3000 midges in one night!

    Pipestrelle on the wing.

    Bats hunt using echolocation, they 'shout' and sound is reflected from the environment, this allows the bats to fly and hunt in complete darkness.  Most humans can't hear these shouts (some children can) but bat detectors can be used to listen to bats in flight - often a bat detector is the best way to identify different species.  

     Pipestrelle on a fence  - resting after eating a massive moth!

    Echolocation is incredibly accurate, Brown long eared bats pick spiders and bugs off leaves and bark in woodland.  

    The landscape here in the South Lakes is perfect for bats, a good mixture of lakes, rivers, hedgerows, meadows and woodland provide good habitat and plenty of food. 
    Bats often form maternity roosts where they raise their young.  Holes and cavities in old trees are perfect though they often share our houses with us. 

    Alder tree with cavity- perfect for roosting bats.

    I am lucky to share my loft with a Pipestrelle maternity roost of about 80 females, I think they like the loft as it stays nice and warm, you can see a row of bat faces peering from the apex of the roof in the photo below.

    Pipestrelle bats peering from their roost.

    An evening stroll at Tarn Hows or Wray Castle and Wray Bay should allow you to see bats in flight, still warm evenings are best as it means there will be loads of midges - not great for you but good for the bats! 


    Woodland Ranger

  • On the road

    09:30 17 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    Whilst many National Trust colleagues work at one or two sites during the visitor season our  Recruiter Rangers Colin and Ian (normally found helping visitors at Tarn Hows) get around more than most! Here's Colin's year so far 'on the road' ...

    Durng the Spring and Summer the Countryside Rangers and I hit the road and get involved with our country shows.

    The display at Coniston Show
     The diversity in the type of shows we attend keeps us all motivated and engaged, from country-themed Coniston show, to food-orientated Country Fest and seasonal Damson Day. In previous years we have attended over 30 shows during a season ranging from events such as vintage steam rallies, to marathons and sheep dog trials. Some of the highlights so far this year have included Holker Garden’s three day festival where we endured wind and rain on the Friday to glorious June sunshine on the Sunday. Always a popular and busy show it’s important for us to be involved, support the show and reach the public.

    Ranger Colin enjoying the sun at Holker
    Even though so far this summer has mostly brought rain, rain and a bit more rain it doesn’t dampen our spirits. We are still excited to take our Trust van around the area. With the colourful flags, informative leaflets and strong presence we aim to meet the public, maybe with a Ranger colleague demonstrating some traditional greenwood craft or countryside skill and helping to explain our part in helping conserve the Lakes.

    Our colourful pop ups and flags at Holker
    greenwood skills demo
    Our ranger Richard demonstrating his greenwood working skills
    The National Trust is about much more than just 'stately homes'. In the Lake District we own many traditional farms (let out to tenant farmers) and around 25% of the land in the National Park. By encouraging as many people as possible to join the National Trust we can ensure the funds that mean our work can continue (and as members they get free entry at all National Trust properties and car parks).
    jumping at Hawkshead show
    A previous Hawkshead show and sunny too!
     So don’t let this rainy summer dampen your spirits, our next outing is our 'local' show, the Hawkshead Agricultural Show on Tuesday 21st August. These shows are a great part of the farming tradition and the kids love the animals - come and visit us there.

    post  | Colin Roving Recruiter
    photos | Colin & Hawkshead Show
  • Fun and Fungi at Wray Castle

    11:40 13 August 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    Well what a great week we have just had, the sun has been shining and we have had some great events and some great visitors.

    Countryfile visited
    Last Friday we were visited by the cameras from the BBC Countryfile team who were filming in the area  looking at the varied and interesting life of Beatrix Potter. Beatrix as well as writing the famous small books was also a very distinguished painter of fungi and lichens which she studied scientifically. John Malley one of our National Trust colleagues and keen amateur naturalist spent an afternoon with "Countryfile's" Julia Bradbury looking for and identifying fungi in the grounds of Wray Castle.

    John gets his instructions

    At first we thought John  was planning a bit of shopping or perhaps a picnic but he said he brought his foraging basket with a few samples he had picked that morning just in case we couldn't find anything. He needn't have bothered as walking in Beatrix's footsteps round the grounds of Wray Castle we soon found some brightly coloured fungi in the grass.

    John and Julia getting a closer look
    Checking with the book John identifies the fungi as Wax Caps and even finds a drawing by Beatrix of the species.

    The film crew also visited our newest farm tenants who had just taken on the tenancy of one of the farms Beatrix left to the National Trust near Hawshead. Beatrix was very keen to support the small family farms in the area and bought them with the proceeds from her book sales to save them from development. Julia and the team were keen to meet up with the family in their new home. If you want to check out all the action tune in to BBC 1 this Sunday the 19th and hopefully all will be revealed

    Fun Friday got into boat building
    While all this was going on some of the other Rangers were busy at Wray Castle getting involved with the Victorian weekend and promoting the "50 Things" campaign, which is encouraging children to get outside and in touch with the countryside. This time we thought we'd go 'industrial' and get into boat building with scraps from the joiners shop. The idea went down well and there were over 300 boats built of various designs and complexity and we even had a mini regatta on the lake with modifications made to improve stability.

    Luke and Matt assisting the budding Brunells
    Lets hope the sun keeps shining for the rest of the month and we get to enjoy a late summer.

    John Atkinson

News from Clair Payne

Photo of Clair Payne

I am a ranger for the South Lakes property covering the Hawkshead and Claife area, helping to look after the west shore of Windermere, Claife Heights, the grounds of Wray Castle and much more… No two days are ever the same, one day I can be found helping to build a play trail at Wray Castle and the next I’ll be replacing a fence across a farmer’s field and the next, who knows?! It feels great to be helping people to enjoy our special places!