News from Roland Wicksteed for November 2015

  • Storm damaged barn at Troutbeck Park Farm.

    14:47 16 November 2015
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Friday 13th.....an unlucky day for this National Trust barn which was extensively damaged by high wind speeds generated by 'Storm Abigail', the UK's first named storm.

    Because of its remote location and the rough track leading to it, the National Trust builders requested the help of the rangers, with land-rover and trailer, to transport acrow props and scaffolding tubes up to the barn. 

    The first acrow prop in place. (above and below). These props will give some much needed support to the roof.

    As the  building is in a dangerous state, temporary barricades have been put in place, but more substantial and secure barricades will be erected as soon as possible.
  • Troutbeck off-road Footpath.

    16:42 11 November 2015
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    An off-road footpath, running between NT Howe Farm land and the busy A592,  overlooks the Troutbeck valley and was put in many years ago; so long ago, in fact, that the ownership and responsibility for the path has now become blurred over the years.

    After consultation with the Troutbeck Village Society the NT agreed to maintain and look after the path until ownership can be established. This will give the dual benefit of encouraging people to use the path instead of a potentially dangerous section of road and it also helps to link up with the network of pathways in and around Troutbeck.

    Up until recently the three hundred metre path had become very uninviting... as can be seen in the image above; it was even worse than this until Trust rangers strimmed, and cut back encroaching vegetation. 
    A large volunteer group from Shardale, led by NT Base camp rangers, Rob, Phillipa and Matt, came along to help us with a path improvement project on the third and fourth of November.
    The first task was to cut back the turf  in an eighty cm. strip along the length of the path... prior to resurfacing it.
    Measuring sticks were used to determine the width of the path back from the leading edge.
    Approximately twenty tons of aggregate, from Elterwater Quarry, was used to  resurface the path.
    Yet again the indispensable power barrows came into their own on a project like this.
    The land-rover and tipper trailer with another two ton load from Elterwater.
    A scene from the quarry. (Two very misty days)
    Smiles at the end of the second day and the first phase of the project completed.
    Above ....
    ....and below!
    The first walkers to use the upgraded footpath.
    Thanks to everyone involved with this project, especially the volunteers.
    It was a most enjoyable and productive two days!
    Job to be proud of.

  • Stone setts for Galava fort signs.

    05:30 01 November 2015
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Back in August 2014, on a very wet Sunday,  the Cumbria National Trust Volunteers helped us to install new interpretation signs for the Roman fort at Ambleside. 
    On an amazingly warm Sunday 1st of November '15, five members of the group helped us to put in hard standing areas in front of the signs, using Burlington stone setts. 

    The following images show just what a good job they did!
    The volunteers seen here digging out a base for the stone setts.
    The wooden frame being put in position.
    Levelling the setts using a straight edge and lump hammer shafts.
    The setts were laid on a bed of mortar.
    Almost finished.
    Brushing in the sharp or grit sand.
    More mortar on the way.
    Unloading stone setts from the trailer for the next stand.
    Cutting back the turf.
    The  turf will be used to help heal erosion scars by the lake shore.
    Two out of the five completed stands. 
    These hard-standing areas will stop the ground wearing away or becoming so muddy in-front of the interpretation signs... especially with the ever increasing numbers of visitors to the fort.

    Members of the  C.N.T.V group with their fine looking handiwork in the foreground.

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/