News from Roland Wicksteed for February 2016

  • Storm Desmond flood repair

    07:59 08 February 2016
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Back in December storm Desmond wreaked havoc throughout the Lake District. This destruction hit the village of Glenridding particularly harshly, where shops and houses where flooded not once but twice in the space of three days.

    As many of you may have seen on the news, the main river running through the village burst its banks and started running down roads and pathways and into people houses.

     After we had done as much as we could to help get the village get back on their feet, we turned our attention to the wider valley. Many meters of fences and walls had been destroyed by flood water and landslides.

    The worst hit area for flood water damage was Hartsop, where the river that flows between Brothers water and Ullswater had completed burst its banks.

    It wiped out over 100m of dry stone wall, numerous meters of fence line, undermined sections of road and buckled iron railings.

    Clearing this devastation would have taken us weeks to clear up. With so much offer of help coming in from all corners, it was decided that we should organise a mass volunteer day to help with the clear up.

    The day was organised for Tuesday 2 February. We didn’t know how many people to expect. Luckily the weather was with us for once. We had over 100 volunteers, a mixture of staff from other properties, regular volunteers, people that had seen the poster and turned up on the day and primary school children from the Outward Bound.

    The children concentrated on picking debris off the fence line. 

    They also found a good way of keeping warm at lunchtime

    They did a fantastic job, and by the end of the day they had managed to clear over 400m of fence.

    Whilst the children concentrated on the fence, the other volunteers started clearing the fields of the tonnes of rock that had been washed out of the walls.

    The plan was to fill helicopter bags with the stone, so that it could be moved closer to the wall with a tractor when the field had, had a chance to dry out.

    After that had been completed, the final task was to try and scrape up as much silt and gravel that had been deposited throughout the field. This was shoveled into mechanical barrows and then tipped into some of the bigger holes by the side of the road.

    A fantastic amount of work managed to get completed thanks to a huge effort from staff and volunteers.

    All that’s left now is to build the walls.

    A massive thank you to everyone that helped out on the day. 

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.