November 2013 Team Update
At this time of year the team are mostly working in the lower level countryside. The South Lakes Area and Woodland Rangers usually have plenty of work lined up for us when we come down from the fells, around October each year.
Our main project in recent weeks has involved building a 'reinforcement revetment' behind the dam at Moss Eccles Tarn.
Moss Eccles tarn is a glacial mountain tarn which has been enhanced by the construction of a small dam and is situated not far from the village of Near Sawrey. Beatrix Potter bought this tarn in 1913, the same year she married local solicitor William Heelis and it was a favourite place for them. It was bequeathed to the National Trust as part of her estate.
The dam is subject to regular inspections and the most recent report recommended that the dam be strengthened and the height of the wall raised. The work on the dam wall was carried out by civil engineering contractors and then reinforcement work behind this was needed. As this work specified the use of stone pitching, to ensure the dam is capable of being 'overtopped', it was an ideal project for an Upland footpath team.
The first part of our project was to dig out the old revetment built to the former height of the dam wall. We removed this to a point where we had good foundations on which to start the new stone-work. We also had to collect and transport several trailer loads of stone to the site to use for the pitching.
Dam wall enhanced and removing the old reinforcing revetment has started...
Synchronised stone collecting at Moss Rigg quarry for the pitching
A section of our stone pitching progressing towards the dam wall
The stone pitching work was very familiar territory for us. However one difference was that the work specification required that the part next to the dam wall had to also use concrete. This was strange for us as we normally work with dry stone.
In addition geotextile fabric, along with soil and turf, were used to cover the top of the pitching. We had to bury our beautiful stone-work!
The finished project - most of our work now buried
The turf and soil, along with grass seed, should mean that it will all green over next year and blend in with the surrounding countryside. Hopefully you won't be able to tell we have been there.
One the last day of this project Sarah made cakes to celebrate, creating the "Moss Eccles" cake. These had a filling of cranberries and white chocolate, as Sarah doesn't like currants. Delicious!
Luke & Sarah enjoying "Moss Eccles" cakes
In addition to work in the lower countryside we continue to carry out upland path work throughout the year, as long as weather conditions permit. This tends to be smaller maintenance tasks that can be completed in a day or so and during the past month we have held a few upland work parties with the volunteer lengthsmen.
One work party was on Tongue Gill, part of the 'Coast to Coast' route. This involved tackling a gully that was developing on a section of this path. Surrounding turf was taken off and then the ground was re-profiled to remove the gully and create a more robust path surface. This was accompanied by some drainage and landscaping work.
BEFORE: Tongue Gill path section with gully & side path developing
AFTER: Tongue Gill path section re-profiled and landscaped
Another recent work party with the volunteer lengthsmen was on the path from Red Tarn to the Hole-in-the-Wall, a route to Helvellyn. This involved repairing drains on this path that had started to collapse. A real bonus for this work party was that it turned out to be a beautiful, crisp, clear day to be out in the fells.
Volunteer lengthsmen repairing drains with a Helvellyn backdrop