20 March 2015

Nothing lasts forever.....

In the South Lakes property we look after millions of trees, most are in our woodland but many are large individual trees scattered across the countryside which make a huge impact on the landscape.

Sadly nothing lasts forever this is especially true of trees, old age and the weather take their toll.  The weather this winter has seen a double whammy the combination of waterlogged ground and high winds often means we loose a few of our larger trees.

  Large ash tree fallen into the road following a night of high winds.

Its sad when an especially large tree falls, this was the case at Monk Coniston when one of the largest beech trees fell after a particularly stormy night.

Beech fallen at Monk Coniston.

Phil the forester cutting the root plate.

Gary removing damaged branches from neighbouring trees.

The tree was 195years old so it would have been familiar to Marshall who created Tarn How while he lived at Monk Coniston.  When trees this size fall they create an enormous amount of mess to tidy up and it's a team effort to get roads and paths cleared quickly and safely.

One of the challenges we face is how to retain these trees which are often part of famous views or paintings and ensure that there are young trees being planted to grow for the next generations to enjoy.

Tree planting opposite Hill Top.

Trees are planted in cages to protect them from browsing animals.  I reckon the cages should last for about 20 years, by then the tree should be established and big enough to look after itself!

Part of the planting this winter has been to restore the designed landscape around Wray Castle in all 94 trees were planted.  We used a map from 1888 to locate where the trees were missing, sometimes there was an old tree stumps in the field so we planted replacement tree next door.  
We planted a mixture of oak, beech, sweet chestnut, small leaved lime and sycamore much the same as the Dawson's in the 1840s when they created the Wray Castle estate.

The footpath team down from the fells tree planting at Wray.

Cages well on the way to completion.

For the planting closer to the castle we re-cycled metal tree cages from Knightshayes.  The ground in the lakes must be stonier than the parkland in Devon as we couldn't hammer the metal fixings all the way home which meant some in the field adjustments had to be made!

Me tightening the last bolt on a metal tree cage. 

Old and new trees on Epley Head near Wray Castle.

Richard Tanner
Woodland Ranger