This season we have planted trees in the Lorton Valley, on the Helm near Kendal, the odd one as landscape gifts at High Borrowdale and Gillside, and our last session was at Middle Bleansley, near Broughton in Furness.

This land was gifted to us and the previous owner had obtained large metal tree guards and planted them across the four fields. Some had blown down, and in some, the trees had died. These guards look amazing, like old parkland guards on large estates.

However, the reality of them was not so attractive. There is no means of opening the guards. That means as the tree grows, it will have to grow into the guard if it does not come off. 

The guards are as tall as a person, so once the tree is up to the height of the guard, they then have to be lifted off, ie another person's height on top - there will be some sore arms in the next few days as they are heavy.


Getting them off also involves fighting with branches so they are not damaged and once off, the trees may still need some protection from cows. So our conclusion was in theory the guards are a great idea, but in reality, they are a nightmare. But, it seemed a shame not to use them again as they were there, and by the end of the day, we had completed around 20 planters and given the fields a look of wood pasture. 


As with High Borrowdale, we looked at the amazing number of mature trees on site and then at the losses, wondering why it is so hard to get trees growing in some places. It never ceases to amaze that down at Middle Bleansley, the timing of growth is about three weeks or so ahead of the North Lakes. There were lambs in the fields, the ransoms were covering the verges and the willow leaves had already unfurled to give a green rather than brown tinge to the trees.

So, there is a mild climate, the hill protects it from prevailing winds and the soil seems good. We are optimistic! It was also great to have four volunteers with us who had never been here. Their thoughts on our various bits of land are always interesting to hear. The view of Middle Bleansley was overwhelmingly positive as they loved the views, tranquillity and unspoilt nature of the land, as well as its variety.

Next Monday we are continuing in the woods, this time at Gillside at Grasmere where we are taking off tree tubes and bagging some up ready for recycling. Join us by booking here