News from Daniel Simpson for October 2012

  • Wildlife Corridors and Community Links

    10:11 17 October 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Recently we have been involved in an exciting new project in Buttermere Village, working in partnership with The Fish Hotel and a local farmer we have been working to improve the appearance of the area surrounding St James’s church, known locally as ‘The little church on the rock’The roadsides close to the church have for years been used as an un-official car park and the area had become neglected with fences and walls in poor condition.

    The original fence can be seen in disrepair by the roadside
    The main part of the project would be to install a double fence which would protect the planned new hedgerow, which will be a valuable ‘wildlife corridor’ and a great improvement to the visual appearance of the site. The first step was to install the back section of the double fence to ensure the field was kept stockproof.
    We had a litle help with the strainers, thanks Anthony
     Now we could start on perhaps the most demanding part of the project, the dismantling and rebuilding of the drystone wall next to the church, this wall had obviously been down for some years with quite a lot of stone missing and in order to get it back to a stockproof height we had to shorten it by a few metres

    There's a wall in there somewhere
    Unusually for us we used a ‘batter frame’ and string lines when re building the wall, this wall was going to be right in the public’s view and more crucially right in the view of locals so it would open to close inspection, some of the team were wary of the stringlines but soon came to realise they were a great help.

    The jigsaw comes together

    Very quickly the jigsaw came together and we were left with a wall which we’re all proud of and which should stand close scrutiny and has made that side of the church a more approachable and more welcoming entrance.
    The finshed wall, a good height, reasonably straight, not bad at all
    Next up was the section of fencing on the village side of the church, slight problem here, the reason it’s called ‘the little church on the rock’ became obvious, perhaps 3-4 inches of soil sat on an enormous slab of very hard Skiddaw slate, not the easiest site for knocking in fence posts! Luckily our Borrowdale rangers had a drill which easily cut post size sockets in the rock. Once suitable sized posts were selected the fence quickly came together.

    Drilling the bedrock and the finished fence
    The main practical works on the site are now complete and we look forward to planting the hedge when we will be joined by staff from the local hotels and with luck the local community. It’s been refreshing on this project having the opportunity to engage with many, many people from across the world, we’ve even been promised a box of toffee from Sacramento! People have shown a great interest in our ‘wildlife corridor’ and our walling and it’s been a great opportunity to inform people about the good works and aims of National Trust and how we interact and engage with our local communities. Check back here to see how we get on with the planting.

    Two folks from Sacramento trying to get a word in edgewise

News from Daniel Simpson

Photo of Daniel Simpson

I have been working as a Ranger for the North Lakes property in the Buttermere and Ennerdale valleys for 1 year. From always living on a hill farm in the Lake District, I have formed a strong connection with this beautiful scenery that we are surrounded by. So I take great pride in carrying out activities such as walling and hedgelaying that maintains this landscape. As well as giving guided farm walks and helping with events.