Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

Spring felt it really was on its way in Sweden Wood above Ambleside. The birds were singing, foxes were running,  the pussy willow was glowing and there was frog’s spawn in the pond at the top of the site.

When we stopped for lunch at the site of the old Victorian Summer House it was very clear why that site was chosen – amazing views, shelter and sunshine… what more could a work party gang want or need??!! We did have thoughts of butlers, cucumber sandwiches and parasols for the ladies……..

We had a really productive day in this unusual woodland. It was part of a Victorian garden and is criss-crossed by stone built drainage channels and huge stone walls or ha has running down the slope from the Scandale track to the beck near Low Sweden Bridge. The downside to this is that it is easy to fall down a ditch, or worse off a big wall – so the first task of the day was to decide on where to put a path around the wood. 

The bracken and bramble grows up so much that in summer it is a job to find a way through. Hopefully we can keep on top of that this year so we have put in posts with orange tops to help mark our way safely around the wood. We have been lucky that Sweden Wood seems to have survived the winter storms really well. We just had a few branches down over our boundary and the volunteers soon removed the branches to take the weight off the wall and fence.

We cleared the old drainage ditches to help the water flow, pondering where all the stone had come from for all the ditches and terraces, who had built them and how. The next job was to start and clear some of the vegetation in front and on top of the ha ha walls. The archaeology report we had done a number of years ago had this as a main recommendation. It is incredible how well these walls have survived, but then again given the huge size of some of the stones perhaps not surprising. Whilst we do not intend to fix the sections that have collapsed, we do like to be good custodians and keep what remains intact and in good condition. This will need more work to get us to that stage but we have made a good start.

Join us for the next new challenge – plug planting at High Borrowdale! We can promise fun and cake, just not the weather :)