28 February 2014

Wet Working Holiday

The Trust here in South Lakes would struggle to get through the amount of work we do without the army of volunteers who support us, Fix the Fell'ers, Base camp groups, South Lakes Conservation Group,  regular day volunteers and loads of others all pitch in.  Last week we were reinforced by a working holiday doing various 'woody jobs'

 Cutting hazel from around landscape beech

The first two days were spent clearing scrub and 1980s planting from the designed landscape around Monk Coniston.  This is important because some of the really impressive mature trees have become lost in scrubby woodland which has developed round them, thanks to the efforts of the volunteers we can 'see the trees for the wood'!

More hazel removed

After a morning spent meandering the East Coniston woods clearing scrubby growth from the hundreds of archaeology site in the woods (I forgot to take photos - sorry) the rest of the day we spent clearing beech regeneration from Tarn Hows wood.

 Another one down

After a well earned day off the group returned for the last two days. 
Following 3 days of tree and scrub removal it made a change to do some planting - after all what will future volunteers cut down if we don't plant anything now?

 Putting the stake in for another tree

The planting is part of a joint project with Windermere Reflections to inprove water quality.  The site is being returned to native species like oak, alder, birch, and hazel after the larch plantation blew down in 2005.  The trees were planted in tubes to stop them being damaged by red deer which are found on the site, after two days the group had planted about 350 new trees.

  More trees planted

The trees are planted quite close together so they will need thinning in perhaps 15 -20 years perhaps another working holiday can help?

The weather throughout the week was terrible with loads of wind and rain but the group remained cheerful and got some really good stuff done. 
On their last night we where invited to a meal with them at Basecamp.  How could we refuse an offer of crisp appetisers, spagetti bolognaise, left over apple sauce and custard (I don't like rice pudding).  The evening was great fun and even included a poetry recital!

Working holidays run at properties all over the country doing all kinds of jobs so if you fancy a go check out the website.
A huge thanks to this years 'woody' working holiday for the work they did, roll on 2015!

Richard Tanner
Woodland Ranger