January 2013 update
January has been a busy month for the Central and East Lakes team. After a well earned, if not a little indulgent break over the festive period, it was straight into the thick of it when the team reunited again at the beginning of the month.
The BBC where coming to film. They wanted to see some of the work the team had completed at Aira Force at the end of last year. They where filming a new series that is due out in February, the idea was to get an insight into the work that is carried out in the countryside during the winter months. It was an excellent way of showing what fantastic work the National Trust does all throughout the year to maintain the fragile Lake District landscape. Look out for us on the BBC in February.
After are day in the limelight is was back to the day job, and the team found themselves in Skelghyll woods, which is a National Trust owned woodland just behind Stagshaw gardens which is on the right just before you enter Ambleside. The track that snakes it's way through the woodland has become very badly eroded over the years, slate cross drains needed to be put in throughout the length of the path to prevent the water from running down the track and scouring out the surface.
In all five drains where built, all of which have been put into good practice over the past couple of weeks with all the snow melt and rain that the Lake District has been engulfed by over the past few weeks.
The second half of the month saw myself helping our estate team in Windermere, with some hedge laying at Birdhouses in Ambleside. Hedge laying is and ancient skill, and winter is an idle time to do it as the hedge is not in leave and you won't be disturbing any nesting birds. The general idea is to cut a mature hedge down so that it is still attached, this is called snedding. This means that after the hedge has been laid a number of times (a process that can take up to 30-40 years) it will become stock proof. This is a very traditional process that has been used for centuries throughout the UK.
Because a lot of the branches are cut of the stems when they are laid it means there is often a lot of brash to burn, this is a good excuse to get the frying pan out and have sausages for lunch rather than the usual soggy crushed sandwiches.