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.