News from Roland Wicksteed for January 2014

  • Portal to the past. Gateway to Galava. (Ambleside Roman Fort.)

    08:52 31 January 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    A metal kissing gate, specifically designed for "large mobility vehicles," was installed between Council owned Borrans Park and National Trust Borrans Field, the site for Galava. (Ambleside Roman Fort.)

    The work was undertaken by National Trust Rangers, based at St. Catherine's, with volunteer help. (Last Summer 2013.)

    A large section of the boundary wall was taken down to allow space for the gate and cage; the wall was then rebuilt and "quoined up" to the gateway.

    The surplus stone was used to wall up the old roadside kissing gate for safety reasons......No pavement, and on a blind bend in the road.

    With the wall taken down, the kissing gate is being positioned
     and the cage sections bolted together.
    The kissing gate completed, and the walling well underway.
    The "quoin end" to the left of the image is being built up to the gate post.
    One of the completed "quoin ends" with top or cam stones in place.
    New path surfaced with 15/30 ml. stone from Elterwater Quarry.
    The approach to Borrans Park from Borrans Field.
    Overlooking Borrans Field from Borrans Park.
    The greatly improved access, over the old kissing gate, will now benefit everyone wishing to visit the site of the Roman Fort, Galava, from neighbouring Borrans Park.
  • Wildlife images

    19:49 24 January 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

     Wildlife images: (My personal favourites) Central and East Lakes area.

    White Clawed Crayfish. Near Windermere. (Austropotamobius pallipes)
    Above and below.
    Only crayfish native to UK and an endangered species.
    Cumbria is the main stronghold for this species in England.

    Female viviparous lizard outside St. Catherine's Office. Unusual in that they give birth to live young..
    Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)  near the start of the "Tall Tree Trail." Skellghyll Woods.
    Tree Bumblebee. (Bombus hypnorum) St. Catherine's. A continental bee that was first observed  in the UK in July 2001.
    Recently spread to Cumbria.
    Netted Carpet Moth Caterpillar, September,  St. Catherine's, on its food plant...Touch Me Not Balsam.
    (Impatiens Noli - Tangere)...the only balsam native to the UK.
    Netted Carpet Moth. July. (Eustroma reticulatum) at rest on outside loo wall.
    St. Catherine's. A very rare moth,  mostly to be found in the Lake District.
    Grey Wagtail. (Motacilla Cinerea)
    Peacock Butterfly. (Inachis io) High Close Gardens. Above and Below.

    Roland Wicksteed. Countryside Ranger.
  • New Gateway for the track to Orrest Head via Common Wood.

    06:58 17 January 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Accessible from the A591 to the east of The Windermere Hotel is a gated track; this leads to a footpath via Common Wood for Orrest Head, a well known viewing point.

    The field gate across the track has occasionally been left open; cattle have then sometimes taken the opportunity to go through and get onto the busy A591. 

    To reduce the risk of this happening again, a small walled up gateway below the field gate was reinstated, at the farmer's request, with a "self closing" wicket gate for access. The field gate is now bypassed and locked.
    Taking the stone away from the walled up up gateway. The tracked power barrow proving its worth.
    Most of the walling stone has been taken down in this image.

    The power barrow in the trailer. The stone will be taken by the power barrow down the Windermere lake path to Millerground; it will be reused for lake shore revetment work. (See previous posts on this subject).
    The wooden gate stoop ready to be "stoned in". The power barrow about to take the the last load of stone away for Millerground. The field gate gate can be seen behind the barrow. It is open but no livestock is in the field today.
    The "self closing"  hook and top gate band.
    The tension spring will assist the self closing effect.
    Painting on wood preserver stain. Looks good and will prolong the life of the wood.

    The finished gateway
     The 4 foot wicket gate, complete with a self closing catch, is much easier to use than the old field gate;  it just looks much more inviting, and will minimise the risk of cattle getting onto the road from here!

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.