Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

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Who said it was spring? We had a freezing day dry stone walling at Mazonwath on Monday and even had some snow flurries! The curlew and lapwings were singing overhead however so that helped lift morale…

We are nearing the end of the big rebuild of an internal wall and are now dealing with the biggest stones yet. It is something when you have to use a mattock to get the stones off the wall. They take some shifting to get back on however, and John’s years of walling experience clearly showed as he used a crow bar to help get them back upslope onto the rebuilt footings. We had visions of Stone Henge contraptions for moving some of them! Presumably when the walls were built it was brute force of manpower that achieved it and the walls were often in the locations of the biggest stones or escarpments as a result. 

Talking of strange structures in strange places, some of you may have seen some circular and semi circular dry stone wall creations, akin to looking through a round window, that have appeared in the last 18 months or so in the North Lakes. People were calling the creator the ‘Banksy of the North’, but no one has yet been able to find out who was building them. So it came as a bit of a shock to find that we now have one on our Little Asby Common – ‘Banksy’ has obviously moved east.

The creation of such sculptures in our wild outdoors can provoke extreme emotions. Some people love them and admire the craftsmanship involved. Others loathe them and think that our countryside should be free of man made structures and clutter. This is the debate that often surrounds cairns that appear all over the fells, but also landscape and countryside sculptures. The Lake District National Park Authority for example have a policy of removing all cairns except those that could really help navigation/be helpful for safety. Some sculptures can of course become a tourist attraction in themselves with economic benefit for the surrounding areas, but sometimes landscape harm that someone else has to foot the bill for. In this case the structure is fairly small, but perhaps next time ‘Banksy’ comes on an outing, he/she may like to do a bit of walling at Mazonwath, or even put an oriel in the wall for us! 

Volunteer Specialist Skills Training - FINAL CALL

Finally, a last reminder, if you want to increase your knowledge about lichens, birds, veteran trees, butterflies/moths, or hay meadow flowers, and then use this knowledge to help us survey our land, it’s the final call for volunteers. We have been inundated by bookings which is fantastic but will be closing bookings to some of the events in the next few days, especially lichens as that is next week, so if you are keen, BOOK quickly!