News from Roland Wicksteed for July 2012

  • Secrets of the Ranger – The Cat and the Ferret

    14:57 26 July 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    So how do you trace the route of a drain deep underground?  With a CAT and a ‘ferret-finder’ of course!

    Let me explain….

    The ‘ferret-finder’ is a device that screws onto the end of a drain rod, and emits a signal picked up by the CAT.  This is slid along the drain until a blockage is found.

    Ray here with the CAT (Cable Avoiding Tool) which acts like a metal detector.  He sweeps it over the ground and it gives a loud beep when it locates the 'ferret-finder'.

    Roland then slowly inserts the drain rods with the ‘ferret-finder’ on the end into the blocked drain.

    X (or an arrow!) marks the spot.  Here is the blockage so we know where to dig.

    No animals were actually needed for this task but 50 drain rods were!

    Look out for more Secrets of the Ranger!

    Ben Knipe
    Area Ranger
    Windermere & Troutbeck
     
  • A little can mean a lot…..

    12:14 13 July 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe


    This month the Windermere rangers have been busy working on a small project which will make a big difference to so many walkers.


    Post Knott is a pretty field with a rock outcrop that looks over Bowness and Lake Windermere. 

    It has a well used path through it which is wide and gentle until….you reach a tall wooden ladder stile.


    The offending stile.  Easy for some to pass over, but difficult for many others.


    With permission of the neighbour we set about taking this ‘dog stopper’ down and replacing it with a kissing gate.  This will allow those walkers with less mobility, walkers with push-chairs and dogs to pass through with great ease and safety.

    Now over to the visitors of Post Knott and your comments on our work here….

    “For us having a small dog those steps are quite tricky”

    “That’s the worst one and the highest one”

    “In wet weather they could be quite slippery, which is fine if you’re able”

    “It’s the first time we’ve come across steps as high as that”

    “About time it happened, it has been like that for too long!”
    No guesswork was used as this was built to British Standards! (BS5709 to be exact).

    “It will open it up to many more people”
    Roland, one of the Windermere rangers is building a new quoin end to the wall.

    “I think as walkers you just don’t appreciate how much work goes into the upkeep to make it easier for us”
    No more nails.  Care and precision, and a dry spell in the weather was used to build the wooden pen.

    “You can appreciate why the NT needs so much help from the public, it’s free for us to do this walk but in fact it’s quite an expensive upkeep”
    The finished kissing gate with Brantfell in the background.

    “As walkers we think you (the National Trust) are a very important body”
    Walkers and their 4-legged friends enjoying the new gate.


    “I think what you guys do is fantastic and the Lake District wouldn’t be the Lake District without you guys”


    Post Knott is South East of Bowness on the way up to Brantfell, just a short detour from the start of the Dales Way long distance footpath.

    It is a quiet, dog friendly location with great views over Lake Windermere and a perfect place to take a picnic and unwind with nothing but the sound of crickets on a sunny afternoon.


    Ben Knipe
    Area Ranger, Windermere & Troutbeck
     
     
     
     
     
  • Working Holidays

    17:57 09 July 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Working holidays have been going since 1967 and make a real contribution in engaging supporters, environmental understanding, conservation activities, budget savings and meeting our mission.
    Participants join interesting activities, learn new skills, have new experiences and provide thousands of work hours.

    Groups are over 18 years old, up to 12 people and have a volunteer leader and assistant. They stay in bunkhouses or cottages and cook good meals. 16 to 18 year olds can do Youth Discovery working holidays and their Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

    Working holiday activities range from hedge laying to charcoal making, walled gardening to cider making, moorland surveys to conserving collections, winter crafts to John Muir discovery awards. Many combine these activities with leisure activities such as photography or surfing.

    Working closely with properties and locations, the holiday’s team help to develop and assist a programme of week holidays and short breaks across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    To find out more or get involved follow this link Working holidays

  • Giant Hogweed

    16:50 02 July 2012
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    On the 29th of June 4 more of the giant hogweed plants were found at ferry nab.
    A specimen was found just 3 yards away from National Trust land. Only one had produced the flower head which made it easy to find in the undergrowth. Look at the height of it! On closer inspection 3 more were found, and promptly dug up. I have since been informed that the seeds from this plant may remain viable for 15 or even up to 25 years! If you see this plant, keep well away from it as its toxic sap can cause serious injury. Please contact the landowner, if known, or the appropriate authority.
    digging up the biggest of the 4 giant hogweed found
    One less giant Hogweed!

News from Roland Wicksteed

Photo of Roland Wicksteed

Ranger. It is a privilege to live and work in this beautiful area; it is unique. I am based at Windermere and Troutbeck. My favourite work is drystone walling and hedgelaying. I enjoy instructing Working Holiday Groups in both of these traditional crafts. Part of my work involves keeping the numbers of "invasive non native species" down as much as possible. I also continue to work on a project, the aim of which is to increase the numbers of the scarce touch me not balsam plants,(yellow flowering plants in the image's background!) which the rare netted carpet moth depends upon for its survival. The numbers of moths and plants are mainly restricted to a few small sites in The Lake District.

Blog:
http://centralandeastlakesrangers.blogspot.co.uk/