Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

It has been a strange and remarkable week for the country with the deep felt loss of the Queen, and lots of people remarking on the stability, consistency and long standing service that she gave us all. Many people have been feeling uncertain and unsettled as a result and it is at times like this that we often turn to our landscapes and natural environment. This gives us that time depth, the feeling of being rooted in a place or a landscape and a deep connection with the past that makes us feel secure. On Wednesday we were walling at Mazonwath and as always conversations occur about current events and happenings. We were discussing the myriad of changes that had happened during the reign of the Queen and Charles pondered “I wonder what walling was like in 1953?” Well we concluded of course that it would be much the same as in 2022. The same centuries old techniques of building a dry stone wall, the same locations and the majority of walls that we see in our landscape built before 1953.

Walling feels very historical, as you move the stones you wonder who moved them last time and what their lives were like. It is very clear for many stones which was the ‘face’ of the stone, the bit that faces outwards by the mosses and lichens that have colonised over time, but sometimes you can curse your predecessors for putting the stone in the wrong way, and perhaps leading to the wall collapse! With the pace of modern life it is refreshing to do something that can only be done at a slow pace, that is still done in the same way it was, 50, 100, 200 or more years ago and to feel that connection with the past and our predecessors.

We also had a trip into the past on Monday when we went out with Mike Houston who was the Secretary (now called CEO) of Friends of the Lake District for 17 years, retiring in 1992/93. Friends of the Lake District bought a field near Staveley, Kendal to celebrate Mike’s retirement and planted it up as a new native woodland. Mike oversaw the creation of the wood and has looked after it for us for years. That is where the wood takes its name from.

It was a bit of a shock to realise that Mike will soon be 90 and that it is nearly 30 years since we created the wood. As we wandered around the wood Mike talked about various events that had happened during his time with the Friends and also about how the wood came about. It was a valuable couple of hours re-learning some Friends history, things that we have forgotten or may think are no longer relevant as we deal with new and current challenges, but in fact are the bedrock on which things sit and form the fundamental basis of things going forward. Next year we will be celebrating 30 years of Mike’s Wood at some point so that is something to look forward to.

Next week we are back over near Broughton in Furness in our new woods there. If you would like to explore with us, you can book here