30 March 2012

Ground Force & Deer Force

No way to the upper part of the garden
Ground Force
In the South Lakes area, in addition to looking after lots of countryside and woodland, the National Trust owns houses that are let out to local people.

An interesting job recently undertaken by the Upland Footpath team involved working in the garden of one of these houses.
This needed a different approach to our normal work due to the formal nature of a garden compared to the countryside. The existing garden did not have good access to the upper part of the garden.

The solution was to build some ‘dry stone’ steps from the lower patio up to the garden. Slate for this was collected from a nearby quarry and used along with existing stone in the garden.

Ian making good progress

The end result
Almost all of the work was carried out by Ian, although Nick likes to think that the small contribution he made was crucial!

 Bark stripping
The photographs below shows bark stripped from trees in two of our woodlands.  Bark stripping is a problem for living trees and, depending on the extent of the damage, may kill them. The fallen tree is quite striking as almost all of the accessible bark has been stripped.
Bark stripped on standing trees
Bark stripped on a fallen tree
The explanation for this is deer (roe and red deer are both found in the Lake District) as they will peel and eat bark, particularly in winter when other food is scarce. Other animals, such as rabbits and squirrels, may have contributed to this damage particularly in the case of the fallen tree.

Closer inspection can help determine what has caused the damage. For example, deer have no upper incisor teeth and leave broad teeth marks running up the peeled stem with torn or broken bark hanging at the top. The teeth marks from rabbits and squirrels are much narrower. So next time you see a tree with bark stripped take a closer look and turn detective!

post & photos by Nick - Footpath Team Ranger


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