14th July 2022: Felling, fettling and future planning on the Helm Land Manager's Diary: Read it here> On Monday and Tuesday we were joined on the Helm not only by our volunteers, but also by Ambleside Tree Services who were back with us sorting the last of the winter storm damage. The storms had brought down a huge dead sycamore from Underhelm Road onto our wall. The volunteers were on standby chomping at the bit to get to the wall once the huge tree trunk was lifted off it, to get rebuilding it so that the ponies and cows did not escape. It has been a two day job but the wall looks much better as a result. Having the native breed cows and fell ponies is great for the conservation grazing that we introduced to the Helm a number of years ago. There are a range of grasses and some flowers out, and it is nice to see patches of harebells blowing in the breeze. But, the ponies in particular do love to rub against our wooden trees planters with the result that some were almost hanging in thin air, despite us fettling them only a couple of months ago! It took nearly all day to fix them. Hopefully in the next few months we can get a contractor in to replace the planters. The idea now the trees have grown up is to remove the planters which are collapsing and put a smaller fence around each group of trees. This will give us some areas which are not grazed so we can see what the impacts of no grazing are and we also have the option of putting a few more trees into each enclosure. We met Nicola who owns the ponies and had a chat about the land. She is an ecologist and we pondered the options for the land going forward. There are always choices but sometimes it is hard to decide what would be best for the land, but also for all the people who really enjoy it since we granted access to it. Some will want more trees and scrub, others will want the stunning open views retained. We are having an ecological survey done over the next couple of months so this will give us more information about what has changed since we introduced the grazing over ten years ago and perhaps some pointers about future enhancement work we could do. If anyone has any ideas about what they would like to see or not see, please let us know. Email me at [email protected] with your suggestions.