Well it’s definitely spring in the Lake District and it is looking so beautiful right now. The smell of bluebells pervades the air and the woods are tinged with white from the wood anenomes. Did you know that spring moves south to north at around two miles an hour? Apparently so! If you were minded, you could out-walk spring and enjoy it happening before your eyes right up the country!

Working in Mike’s Wood at Staveley this week was a sensual delight, the colours of bluebells and ransoms, the smells of fresh flower blossom and bulbs, the continual singing chatter of the birds. We were back to the idea of a Friends of the Lake District land recipe and craft book, featuring products from our land: Mary’s garlic muffins, bluebell perfume, how about garlic and hawthorn flapjack for a change? Hmmm, maybe not…

Mike’s Wood, joining with the other woods on either side, now forms a lovely area of native woodland stretching along the fellside to the east of Staveley. With the new path and open access we put in, it has become a regular and popular circular walk for a lot of people. One task was to make sure the main path through the wood was clear. This winter has been marked by storms, and we had our woodsman Pete with us to help saw up a tree that had fallen onto our wall, and a few other bits and bobs, with the volunteers helping stack the logs to create a new wildlife and bug habitat. We spent a fun time creating brash fences/hedges around some coppice work, seeing how many styles we could create!

The other task was a sad one, we have lots of ash regeneration that is now diseased with ash die back. The whips are falling over or you can just pull them out of the ground. It is sad to see, but estimates are that 1 – 5% of trees may be showing some resistance. Time will tell. We walked past the devastation caused by Storm Arwen but new life was making the best of the new habitats the felled trees had created, with foxgloves growing out of the top of the trunks, a cross between an exotic garden and a scene from the Hobbit!

Next week we are over in the equally lovely Eskdale valley with an increasingly long list of jobs, so if you can do dry stone walling, we need some help with gaps and other woodland tasks. You can book on at: https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/Event/wednesday-15-may-2024-hows-wood-woodland-and-walling-work