News from Roland Wicksteed for January 2013

  • January Snow

    21:11 17 January 2013
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    This week saw the first snow of year fall. As much as 7cm of the white stuff fell on parts of Cumbria. With the conditions just right i was able to capture some beautiful snow scenes of our fells.
    Wetherlam and Coniston fells

    Great Langdale
    Elterwater under the cloud
    High Close YHA with Loughrigg in the background
    High Close garden view point
    View point bench
    Beautiful Douglas fir ( Pseudotsuga menziesii) in winter
    Even though the snow makes it difficult to get around it does make the countryside a winter Paradise and fells look grand and tall. With more snow scheduled for the weekend we should capture some more interesting images of the lakes in winter.

    12:20 11 January 2013
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    The old gate, high up on the footpath to Threshthwaite Crag, a long way up from Troutbeck Park, had degenerated into a ramshacke old stile. It needed replacing! The gate gives access through a wall that once formed part of a deer park enclosure.
    An image of the old gate. Very difficult for walkers to negotiate especially with dogs!

    A new 2' 6" gate was brought up by landrover along the Roman road that leads onto High get as close as possible to the site.
    A suitable flat stone was found on site, and chiselled out for the bottom gate bracket to pivot on.
    The hole in the old stone top was far to big for the top gate hanger.
    The answer was to use an off cut from an old fence post to fit the gap; the centre was then
    drilled out to allow for a good fit for the top gate bracket.
    A close up of the "made for the job" offcut with the drilled out centre.
    The bottom bracket ready to be fitted to the gate.
    The gate needed to be a "self closer". We had an old length of chain and a drilled out stone that we thought would come in handy. We were right! A suitable "anchor stone" was located nearby and levered into position.

  • Hedge Line News At Birdhouse Meadow

    11:00 11 January 2013
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Birdhouse meadow is a species rich water meadow, well known locally for its wild flowers. It is located at the North end of Windermere. The old hedge, very much a feature of Birdhouse Meadow, is in the process of being laid. The lake periodically floods this area which has sometimes made work on the hedge, for the Trust Rangers….difficult!

    from their obvious use as stock proof boundary markers, laid hedges provide an excellent habitat for birds, small mammals, and a wide variety of insects.

    Animals also use hedges as corridors to cross fields or commute between woodlands, in comparative safety!
    The old hedge before work started.......

    .......and after!
    A newly laid stretch of the hedge being woven in.
    Hedge laying, especially an old hedge, creates a lot of brash!
    Burning up the brash on site.
    Any fire wood is taken away to be seasoned, ready for use in the NT footprint buildings wood burner.
    An example of a pleach.
    This is an angled cut that makes the stem flexible enough to be laid. In this instance a chainsaw was used; much quicker than using an axe or a billhook on a stem this big.
    A view of work in progress.
    Ash tree standards.
    Ash tree standards are often to be found in local hedges; sadly they face an uncertain future owing to the potential spread of Ash die back disease.
    Another section of hedge due to be laid in 2013.

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.