Latest news from Daniel Simpson - page 2

  • Calling all young adventurers

    18:12 28 May 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Sunday June 2nd 

    Buttermere Mini Adventures Day


    Come see us in Buttermere on Sunday, we'll be in the field beside the Cafe in the village centre all ready to go from 10.00 a.m , you can take part in some of our 50 things to do,including tree climbing, orienteering, den building, the excitement of rope swings, and many many more fun and interesting activities.

    The day will follow a circular trail through woodlands and along the lake shore where you will meet National Trust staff who are there to help if you need them but the fun is all yours to have!! we'll also have a climbing wall and some Zorbs to finish of your fun adventures in our wonderful Buttermere countryside.

    We'll be there waiting and happy to see you come rain or shine!! bring your wellies to splash in some mud and wear clothes that you won't mind getting dirty!!

  • Volunteers Rock!

    20:04 15 April 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    The Southern footpath team have been preparing for a job, a stone pitched path between Grisdale tarn and Fairfield.  They will be joined later in the year by the other three footpath teams to get it boshed!  The first job was finding a suitable scree to take stone from, one that is not a SSSI  (site of special scientific interest)  with good rock and no endangered flora.  Here's a couple of protected flora you may of seen about on the cumbrian fells.

    Parsley fern
    woolly hair moss

    The scree needs to be as close as possible to the work site to help reduce flight costs and ensure the path blends in with the surrounding rock.  With the site found the team started filling reinforced bags to be flown by helicopter onto the work site.  There was 160 bags to fill so they needed to get cracking despite the snow making it difficult to find any stone.

    With 120 bags filled and the Heli lift only a week away, 11 of the fix the fells volunteers came in on a Saturday to give a helping hand.

    The first bags of the day, each bag holds a tonne!

    We got lucky with the weather and it turned into a cracking day, the sun cream even came out.

    By the time the last bags were filled we could of done with a nice cream tea from Wordsworth house and gardens.  Below is a short time lapse of Watendlath bridge and Langstrath beck around the time the team started filling bags, also the volunteers bag filling a couple of weeks later  (shot from too far away! but if you look closely at the screes you will see the busy fix the fells worker bee's).

    At the end of the Day having a well deserved rest after filling 40 bags of stone, Rock on!

    Photos by David Brooks

  • Replacing the highest stile in borrowdale

    15:36 18 March 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    The old stile did well lasting so long considering it is in the wettest inhabited place in

    Daisy supervising the removal of the old stile
     Located above the old graphite mines in Seathwaite at roughly 350m, it takes a hell of a beating from the Cumbrian weather.

    Double checking before making the first cut
    We started the stile on a lovely day in the middle of February,  It is the first I have built and a real step up in my joinery skills. The first job was removing the old stile then getting the new pillars in place and marking where they would be joined.

    At this point Daisy lost interest

    Carefully cutting and chiseling we created the joins and with some maneuvering we eventually got the pillars fitting snugly and nailed together.

    We fixed the pillars at the correct width with a rail and started cutting the grooves for the steps to sit in.

    The pillars were joined opposite ways to create better hand holds 

    With the grooves all cut we nailed the steps in place.

    Volunteer Charles finishing off the stile with the final nail.

    Looking down the valley over Thornythwaite and Watendlath fell to Helvellyn 

    Charles testing the Stile 
     All done and looking stylish...

  • Spring is sprung

    16:18 27 February 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Ah spring, when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, but alas as we are mostly greying, old and grumpy (excepting of course the dashing Ranger Dan) we are content to enjoy the sunshine and the crisp cold mornings.
    It’s a grand time of the year for us, we’ve seen the last of our hedge laying season and are looking forward to getting our property in good fettle for the rush of springtime visitors, and also we can now catch up on the some of the little jobs which crop up.

    Ranger Dan and myself have been busy clearing fallen trees from our woodland paths and felling trees on the edge of our Dunthwaite estate, opening up drainage ditches and generally tidying up the appearance of the roadside woodlands, we took the opportunity there to try out our carving skills…steep learning curve ahead but at least one family who wandered past enjoyed our efforts.. A nice smile from them all.
    Not bad for a first effort
     Of course not many of our blogs go by without mention of our regular Thursday Volunteers and last week's adventures certainly bear mentioning. We were joined by David and Phil on the task of repairing some high fell walls alongside the Coffin Road above Holme Wood in Loweswater, a steady steep walk up in glorious sunshine brought us out onto the open fell and tremendous views over the valley.

     Some days walling can be a frustrating challenge but not this day, excellent quality stone certainly makes the job easier and with the sun on our backs, birdsong in the air and a degree of concentration we had two gaps mostly complete by lunchtime.

    Phil concentrating perhaps too much?
     Once the walling was finished off and we had ambled gently back down through the woods we had some time on our hands.
    In these harsh economic times we are all conscious of making the most of our resources and saving money where we can. We were aware of the need for a rescue boat for Loweswater and our other lakes and had in our spare moments begun designing such a craft, today it was decided was time for a test launch

    We're gonna need a bigger boat!!!!

    Work in progress I think you’ll agree?

  • Volunteering Open Days Sat 16 & Tue 19 February

    12:33 09 February 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Do you fancy meeting & talking to people in the beautiful Lakes valleys of Buttermere and Borrowdale?

    We're holding two open days where you can drop in any time between 11am - 3pm to meet friendly staff and volunteers and find out about our new volunteering opportunities.

    Meet new people in the great outdoors through volunteering with us
    We're launching a new visitor research project this year, to get to know better the visitors who enjoy the countryside we care for, find out what makes them tick, and find out how we can improve their day out in the great outdoors. With no clip-boards in sight, this is a great project for people who want to spend time outdoors in beautiful settings, and who enjoy talking to people and finding out more about their views.

    We also have opportunities in our new enlarged shop & visitor information point on Derwent Water, opportunities in our Volunteer Support Team, helping to improve communication among all the small groups of people who volunteer with us from Keswick to Whitehaven. Plus, for the less outdoorsy among you, there are opportunities to get involved at Wordsworth House & Garden, in the house, cafe, shop and in the garden too.

    We hope you'll drop in and see us - to find out more about the roles, enter your postcode here to find volunteer opportunities close to where you live - Find an Opportunity with the National Trust

    The dates & venues are:
    • Sat 16 February - Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. 11am-3pm
    • Tues 19 February - Wordsworth House & Garden, Cockermouth. 11am-3pm
  • Bonfires and some vanity

    12:04 16 January 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Volunteers and Rangers after a long hard but fun day
    It may seem odd to start with a picture of the end of a job but without the freely given help of our regular Thursday volunteers the end would be a bit away yet. On the Buttermere side of the property we have Jim  ( and Theo) Phil and David, who when he promises to behave is often joined by his much much better half Christine, Borrowdale rangers Andy and Jack are supported by Rod and Robert.
    One day a week may not sound a lot to some people but when we get this team together on a busy project a truly astonishing amount of work, and fun results.On this occasion rangers Dan and Paul were in the last throes of a large hedge laying project at Dunthwaite on what turned out to be a very wet and boggy site.
    Hedgelaying is a country craft which has been practised for hundreds of years, Caesar described the process of hedgelaying in detail in 57BC in his Gallic War when he encountered laid hedges in the territory of the Nervii in Flanders, but it is just as relevant today as it always has been. As a hedge grows it becomes more tree like and gaps appear,laying the hedge restores this living boundary and provides an effective wildlife corridor allowing small animals and birds a route from field to field unseen by predators.
    A newly laid hedge and the new growth of the following spring
    The downside is that it produces a lot of 'brash' unwanted trees and branches which are removed as part of the process, our preferred method of dealing with this would be to use a mechanical chipper but the wet and boggy conditions prevented this so we reverted to the traditional method, a damn good fire.... or in this case two!
    Now, you can almost guarantee that if you gather a group of men of a certain age in a field they will all know the 'correct' way to light a fire, some favour diesel and tyres, some like firelighters and some just stick to paper and dry kindling, everyone is correct of course with the proviso that my method is always best, this time we used bags of old jackdaw nests, removed from a barn some months ago and kept for this very purpose.. Forward planning in the NT??? What ever next!
    We have mentioned the wet and boggy conditions, what we failed to mention was the steepness of the site, as the morning progressed it became evident that the fire at the bottom of the hill was much more popular but after what seemed a rather extended lunch break everyone gathered at the much larger and beautifully constructed fire at the top.
    I was doubtful that we would clear the field that day but this is were our merry band excels, driven by an unwillingness to admit defeat and I suppose the enjoyment of showing us 'young'uns' how it's done, they pulled ,dragged pushed and stumbled until they had gathered every piece of brash from the site, a slow trudge down the field dragging bags of firewood and they were off for a well earned pint, no doubt looking forward to the next Thursday's task........................more hedgelaying and burning!!!!!!!!

  • New challenges for the New Year

    15:07 10 January 2013
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    January is a time when we tend to think about how we're spending our time, and how we'd like to be spending it better.

    If your new year's resolution was to spend a bit more time outdoors in this beautiful area, and maybe to help make a difference to a charity and to give something back, we might have an opportunity for you.

    We're really excited about a new project that's just starting up. Over the next twelve months we'll be taking a pop-up visitor information tent to popular locations in the Borrowdale and Buttermere valleys and use it to talk to visitors.  We want to find out more about what they're doing on their day out and to gather feedback about how we could make their visitor experience better.
    Meet people from all walks of life as a volunteer
    So if you like finding out what makes people tick, you want to spend some time outside two of the most beautiful valleys in the Lake District, and you want to be part of a one-year project that will help shape the future direction of how we engage with visitors to the two valleys, why not contact us for an informal chat over a cuppa to find out more?

    You can read more information here on the volunteering pages of the National Trust website, email contact us via Twitter @NTNorthLakes or telephone on 017687 74649 to speak to a real live human being!

    2013 could be the year to be the change you want to see in the world...
  • Seasons thoughts

    11:58 21 December 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
    A very merry Christmas to all those who follow us. I hope you have enjoyed the blog, following us through our many highs and a few lows. Our job largely is to help people enjoy there visit to the marvellous countryside that we care for in the northern Lake District, and if possible to enhance their experience. So if we fix a gate, or resurface a path, it gives us satisfaction to know that we are directly making that experience more enjoyable, even if this can be quite subliminal to the user. Installing information panels like those at Friars Crag, which, incidentally, are proving very popular, is an obvious way in which we can go that little bit further to give people more of an insight into the area. But there are also more subtle ways. Try checking this out:
    So it has been a very good year for us, and we really want to thank all those people who have helped us in our achievements. All of this would be so much harder without your help.
    Let your heart be light.
    Christmas in the Lakes can be an extra special time. For me it is a time of appreciation, both of this wonderful area in which I live and work, but also of the people whom I hold dear. The District is quieter, the walking offers a bit more solitude, and the break from work allows me to draw breath, relax and re-focus. During the summer Sue, my partner, and I walked the Lake District section of the Coast to Coast walk, and it really refreshed my appreciation of this marvellously varied landscape which we call home, really brought it home to me what it is all about. The Christmas break often works the same way, and at the end of the day there is Hot Chocolate with a dash of rum, and mince pies. I like mine with a full pastry lid, which I remove, add a liberal spoonful of Cumberland Rum Butter to the pie, then squash down the lid on top. Yummee! So how do you like yours?
    From now on our troubles will be out of sight.
    Well probably not! During the summer there is always lots of emergency work where we have to react to an event, either natural or man made. Sometimes these can be really annoying, but we have to remember that in the general scheme of things they occupy a tiny proportion of our time, and are created by a tiny minority of our visitors. As always a big thank you to all the people who have helped us with these. Also specifically this year our eyes will be trained on the tree tops, for from springtime onwards we will be looking out for signs of Ash Dieback. And we will be hoping that we do not find any, but….

    And in the meantime

    … have yourselves a merry little Christmas now
  • The Emergence of Ash Dieback at Watendlath

    13:36 27 November 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Having witnessed the demise of the English Elm through the 1970’s as tree after tree succumbed to Dutch elm disease I guess it was just a matter of time until we repeated the scenario with another invasive species, after all we spend millions of euros each year moving untold quantities of plant and animal species around Europe and Asia so it should not really come as a surprise. The Lake District with its network of small farms and field systems is more or less dominated by Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and nearly all of the mature trees in the farmed landscape are also ash! Furthermore many of the ashes are ancient pollards with a history of management going back hundreds of years and these very special trees support a wonderful array of wildlife including rare mosses and lichens and an unknown number of insect species. 

    Removing and burning ash at Watendlath
    Removing and burning ash at Watendlath 
    Volunteers kindly gave up their time to help us
    Volunteers kindly gave up their time to help us

    The ash pollards form part of ancient wood pastures and in February of 2012 we planted over 600 new ash trees at Watendlath, this small idyllic hamlet is home to several hundred ancient ash trees many over 400 years old. The news of this new disease, Ash Dieback (Chalara Fraxineacaused concern and having a contact at FERA (Food & Environment Research Agency) I was able to have these newly planted trees tested earlier this month and a few days later received the bad news that they were indeed infected. Following advice from FERA and The Forestry Commissionwe took steps to try to save the woodlandThe trees had been planted in tubes and fallen leaves were nicely contained within them, one week later and all had been removed and burnt on site to try to save the woodland.

    Ancient pollards in Watendlath
    Ancient pollards in Watendlath

    Was this successful? Only time will tell and next summer will reveal the true extent of the disease. The area will be closely monitored for any signs of infection by this nasty little Ascomycete and every effort made to reduce its impact on this incredibly ancient landscape that we put so much effort into conserving.
  • Wordsworth's Hens winter retreat

    14:08 22 November 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    The National Trust takes animal husbandry very seriously and when it comes to ensuring their visitor attractions are representing the correct era in history, even the poultry must be right.

    The Georgian property of Wordsworth house in Cockermouth, William Wordsworth childhood home, had a new addition to their garden last year. Three hens joined the team of dedicated garden staff and volunteers, doing their bit to help control garden pests by eating any that they were given. The fine looking ladies were an attraction in their own right and proved very popular with visitors as well as those who work in the gardens but late in the season all was not well.
    National Trust rare breed hen Poppy
    Poppy's surprise at Hetty's return
    Despite having the finest hen house, carefully made the Georgian way with hand made nails and native hardwood timber, one of the hens had 'flown the coup' seeking an adventure of her own, perhaps inspired by Wordsworth's famous poetic descriptions of the lake district on the doorstep.

    Fearing that she had been stolen, a safer place was sought for the remaining two birds to overwinter and they came to stay with my flock in the woods. Just days later the missing hen Hetty was found, she was in the building next door to Wordsworth house where she had been eating flys and spiders to her heart's content. Being a rare breed Scott's dumpy hen (one of only a few breeds of hen kept in the Northern England in Georgian times) and not having especially long legs seemed to have limited how far she was able to "wander lonely as a cloud"

    Reunited with her hen housemates Poppy and Maisey, all three have been happily scratching and pecking ever since and after a busy summer season in the Wordsworth House garden being admired by many and eating as much as a hen can, they are back in the tranquillity of the wood for another winter. 

    To find out how you can see these hens click here
    National Trust rare breed hens reunited
    Wordsworth hens reunited

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.