Team update February 2014

Team Update February 2014

 

In February, the team helped out with many tasks for the National Trust’s South Lakes property here at Coniston and we managed to complete various maintenance days on the fells.  Most of the time was spent dry stone walling at Park Coppice, near Torver but it’s at this time of year when the team starts to plan and get ready for the upcoming switch back to the fells on a more permanent basis.  As the weather starts to improve (it couldn’t get much worse) we start to have more and more days on the fell and at the beginning of the month, we had a day near Blea Tarn.  The task for the day was to stabilize a ‘peat hag’.  Where people are following the path across the hill, the slope above has been undercut, resulting in exposing the delicate peat that lies beneath the vegetation.

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  Dark patches of peat with the path flowing through on the bottom left

Once the peat has been exposed in this way then with the rain and the water that runs down the fells, it has the potential to very quickly erode away.  The solution is to try and re-cover the exposed peat areas with a vital, protective layer of turf.  It sounds simple enough but quite a lot can go into stabilizing the area.  With the section of peat we worked on that day we had to collect stone from the locality and then dig these into the bottom of the peat hag.

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 Large stones dug in to act as foundations for the banking

 This ensured that the turf we placed back onto the banking would not slip down onto the path.  Next, we had to reduce the angle of the peat banking by mattocking away at the steeper surfaces to try and get a nice angle for the turfs to sit on and to make it blend into the local surroundings.  The final step is to cover the whole area with turfs.

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The 'Press Up' technique of bedding in the turfs

  Hopefully, the roots of these turfs should start to get a hold in the peat and the whole area should start to stabilize.

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  The finished job with all the peat covered up

Around the Lakes there are problems like this everywhere and below is a section of path we worked on few years ago.  Again, where the path has come through the area, the peat has been exposed.

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  Eroded section of path on Mart Crag Moor

After work, the sides have been stabilized and a sustainable path line has been put in place.

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All exposed areas of peat covered and stabilized

  Let's hope we have a better March weather wise as the team heads up onto fells for more preperation work for the projects we have on this year.

 

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