News from James Archer for May 2012

  • Have a great time on one of our working Holidays

    18:14 23 May 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Working Holiday May 2012

    Ever wanted to Wake up in a beautiful location, and enjoy a fun-packed day doing exciting conservation activities, and make great new friends in the process with one of our working holidays.

    Well this is what these guys did. Taking part and getting active on one of our working holidays. Fun packed week with twists and terns but a fantastic experience, learning about this part of the Lake District, doing some great conservation work and getting a chance to have a go and enjoy a brilliant outdoor activity.

    Sarah encouraging rides in her wheelbarrow

    The First day the Volunteers and Rangers worked hard on the shores of Grasmere to remove tree saplings along the path and shore. This work is important to do while the trees are young, many have self seeded but removing them helps keep the mature trees healthy encourages smaller wild flora to grow and ultimately retaining the beautiful views across the Lake and fells. We also have a special event coming up on June 9th this year the Grasmere Gallop 10k trail race. We are hoping this year’s race will attract 500 plus runners of all ages to enjoy what must be one of the most beautiful routes in the country. For more details follow this link Grasmere Gallop

    Removing tree saplings, not a bad view
    Adam looking cool, modelling that Bow Saw
    Grasmere water from Loughrigg

    The rest of the week was spent at High Close Garden near Langdale. The house that sits in this 11 acre site is used by the YHA. The original building has been extended over the years but we think there would have been a wooden structure here since the 15th century. The garden covers 11 acres and is part of the High Close estate which totals 535 acres. The garden was originally planted in the 1860s by Edward Balme and was laid out in the fashion of the day using many recently discovered exotic conifers from North America as well a variety of Rhododendrons. In its time the garden would have employed 9 gardeners and a full time path sweeper. The maintenance has been undertaken by the Rangers and volunteers and this work is now ongoing to bring the garden back to life. 

    Roger clearing vegetation from around a 200 year old "Corting" seat

    The gang worked very hard all week with some inclement weather for May but this did not dampen there sprits. Work has been ongoing in the garden to remove Rhododendron from the site. We collected logs and brash to burn for the fire. Paths that had become over grown and covered with soil and leaf mould were dug off and landscaped and resurfaced with local slate. Drains were cleaned and reinstated.

    Bernard discovering old drains
    Alan digging of turf
    Twisted fire starters
    Krisi taking our barrow for a spin
    We use crushed slate from a local quarry in Elterwater
    The gang cant wait to get there barrows full
    Raking the slate level
    Katie showing us the before shot
    And after
    One happy customer

    We add a full day on Windermere using Canadian canoes and kayaks as part of the holiday, this gives first timers a chance to try a new sport and for others to view the Lakeland fells from a different perspective. There is nothing better than bobbing about on the water enjoying fantastic views and great company.

    Canadian canoes on Windermere
    A chance to try out Kayaks
    Experts in the field of Kayaking
    Time to relax and enjoy many fabulous locations the Lakes has to offer

    Our Working Holidays provide a great way to learn new skills, help our work, see new places and have fun with like-minded people. There are plenty of Working Holidays to choose from with locations country wide. Go on, give it a go. Find out more and get involved by following this link National Trust Working Holidays
  • Elterwater's biodiversity under threat?

    18:58 01 May 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    The reed beds and Touch me not balsam stands at Elterwater are being invaded by the American skunk cabbage. A perennial plant with an estimated life span of over 80 years! National Trust Rangers are digging up smaller plants, and destroying the seed pods of older specimens. The aim is to limit the spread of skunk cabbage,and prevent it from displacing the native plants at Elterwater.
    Image of small skunk cabbage, freshly dug up. Note size of root system
    Image of skunk cabbage growing in Touch me not balsam stand and reeds. Note balsam in 1/2 moon shape around skunk cabbage
    Image of large stand of older skunk cabbage. Note younger plants in right foreground.
    Image of medium size skunk cabbage just dug up with a lot of effort! Note massive root system.
    These plants represent a small portion of invasive species threatening our countryside, the National Trust and many other organisations helped with volunteers are making a stand against such species. A lot of resource is also used to try and combat the spread of Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knot weed. Please keep checking the blog for more posts about this issue.

News from James Archer

Photo of James Archer

Lead Ranger for Great Langdale and the Lowther Commons.

I've worked in the Lakes for over 30 years now, with the last 28 for the National Trust! Originally I was involved with estate work and footpath maintenance. This lead on to a real interest in Public Access and the realisation that this landscape is so important to so many people around the world.

When not at work my interests are archaeology, geology, walking , mountain biking and now a (slightly nervous) novice sea kayaker!

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