Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

BOOK onto one our upcoming workparties>

We are back into the swing of our woodland workparties now, Christmas already seeming a while back. This Sunday marks Candlemass the mid point between Christmas and Easter and as the sunset times start to get that little bit later every week, we can begin to notice the birds singing more and the first spring bulbs beginning to push their way through.

On Wednesday morning as we set off for our workparty in Gillside and Tongue Gill woods in Grasmere you would have been hard pushed to notice anything as it was thick fog on top of Dunmail Raise. The hidden Tongue Gill valley had its own micro climate, but it was one of mist and light rain that got heavier as the morning went on.

It was brilliant to have half a dozen new volunteers who we have not met before and great to hear them chatting to each other and forming new friendships as the day went on. Being honest, that feel good factor from being in the wood went up significantly when the sun came out for the afternoon!

Pictured: View to Dunmail

We had two tasks, both of which felt again like we were welcoming spring into the wood. Kay and Roger set off with a hammer and step ladders to put up ten bird boxes for small birds, joining the existing boxes for squirrels, bats and birds already up in the wood.

The rest of the day was spent on the mammoth task of removing tree tubes. There did not seem that many when we began, but after a few trips up and down the wood, not only did the pile of stakes and tubes we had taken off grow, but also the number still needing to be taken off seemed to grow as we noticed them snaking up the hillside beyond!

Friends of the Lake District's use of Plastic Tree Guards>

Pictured: Removing tree tubes on the lower slopes

The tree growth has been phenomenal but it was noticeable when at the higher points of the wood that growth rates are lower and the tubes need to stay there a bit longer, phew….

Pictured: Slower tree growth on the upper slopes

So many people think creating a wood is all about planting trees. In fact that is the easy bit. It is the ongoing care and maintenance in the early years especially which is crucial. 41% of the UK woodlands have no active management at all which is a shame as none of their benefits in commercial or environmental terms will be maximised.

Pictured: New tree stock will add to the stock older established trees on the site

Next week our attention turns to a very different wood, Greenbank Wood in Ambleside where our task is to remove some of the more invasive saplings. We will soon be sharing some really interesting findings from our volunteer lichen expert Pete Martin, so watch this space.

BOOK ONLINE and join us in Ambleside on Wednesday 1st February