News from Roland Wicksteed for September 2014
Team day at High Close
07:47 23 September 2014
By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe
The first job was to put a wooden edging to the sides of the pathway, ready for gravel to be put in at a later date. This involved measuring out the pathway at each point, using a mattock to level the ground and then digging posts into the ground to attach the wooden rails to.
A great day was had by all, morale was kept high and some great ideas shared. High Close estate is always open to visitors and the YHA run a small cafe - look out for a blackboard on the road entrance for opening times. There is limited parking available free of charge.
Improvements to the View Point Area, and the path at Aira Force.
09:13 14 September 2014
By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben KnipeWork was needed on the path leading down from the small National Trust car park on the Dockray Road to a view point close to Aira Force. The viewpoint area itself was due to be resurfaced.The small wooden bridge that crossed the beck was old.For safety reasons it was removed and a concrete pipe was put there in its place.Aggregate from Threlkeld Quarry was used for resurfacing
over the pipe.Kevin Tyson was contracted to do the excavating, and to fill the power barrows from the aggregate pile dumped at the car park...the nearest practical point.The power barrow on its way from the car park to the site down the steep narrow path.Nic, explaining to interested members of the public,
about the next stage of the work. Kevin was to level out part of the area prior to it being entirely resurfaced. It was a tricky job as Kevin had to reach over the railings with the excavator arm.A lot of concentration needed!Digging out the turf which the digger couldn't reach.Power barrow coming into its own, yet again, to take the turf away in order to landscape the area around the newly installed pipe.A "wacker plate" was used to firm up and compress the new surface.The new surface. Within a short time, it will weather to match the path surfaces elsewhere at Aira Force.The path above the newly installed pipe.The view, taking in Place Fell, St Sunday Crag and Glenamara Park.(Ancient Wood Pasture) See post ...Glenamara Park... on this Blog Site.
Rhododendrons and Lancasters.
06:36 08 September 2014
By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben KnipePhytophora Ramorum is a fungus like pathogen that causes immense damage and death to many tree species.
In the United States different strains of P. Ramorum have decimated native oak populations. The strains found in the UK have had negligible impact on our oaks, but have infected many Japanese Larch tree plantations here.
Evidence has shown that Rhododendron acts as a host for P. Ramorum; the pathogen produces spores that are easily wind blown thus causing new infections.
P. Ramorum has been found in Rhododendrons at a site on the A592 near St. Catherine's, National Trust. To reduce the risk of the pathogen spreading all the Rhododendrons at St. Catherine's are due to be cut down. The work started on Sunday 7th of September with tremendous help from the Cumbria National Trust Volunteers!Cutting back and burning the Rhododendron Ponticum.Pruning and clearing the outer branches to allow access for cutting the main stems with either bushman or chain saw.Work well under way.Before.After.Time out was taken to watch 2 Lancaster bombers fly over Windermere from the vantage point of Adelaide Hill.Wonderful weather and a good turn out on this very special occasion.Majestic.
Himalayan Balsam "Pull For A Brew" with South Cumbria Rivers Trust.
08:09 02 September 2014
By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben KnipeThe last organised volunteer balsam pull for this year with South Cumbria Rivers Trust took place at a site near Skelwith Bridge on Saturday 30th August. Vanda and I met up with Jen at 10 am. Sadly, no one else turned up; after waiting a while, our small band set to work.
A volunteer, working on a recent National Trust project, told me about several studies that indicated volunteering has surprising benefits for the volunteer. She summed it up: "Doing good for the community makes you feel good...and does you good!"
Invasive Himalayan Balsam at Skelwith Bridge. It readily out competes,
and shades out our native plants, reducing diversity, and denuding river banks of understory vegetation. Winter die back exposes the bare soil to erosion.
Because it was so late in the season, bin bags were used to contain the ripe seed pods; they would be incinerated later. Many of the pods could be heard popping inside the bag! Cutting the stem with the seed pods ready to put in a bin bag. A single plant can produce 800 seeds and project the seeds up to 4 metres away; hence the plant can spread with phenomenal speed over a few seasons. An awkward site. I am in a silted up drainage ditch. Vanda, National Trust colleague, and Jen. South Cumbria Rivers Trust. and organiser of the
Himalayan Balsam pulling events.
It is easy to see why the Victorians were so taken with this plant.
They had no idea of how invasive Himalayan Balsam would become away
from its natural habitat.
Bees are drawn to this invasive species. Note proboscis already extended!
Oh Yes, this is 'THE PULL FOR A BREW'. Chesters By The River, a bakery, café, and shop, heard that a balsam pull was to take place nearby and had kindly offered in advance to treat all participants to a cream tea.
Thanks to all at Chesters.