Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

Our small team of hardy volunteers were greeted with blue skies on a blustery day at High Borrowdale this week. We were beginning the planting of 420 metres of new hedge plants between double fencing running for 420 metres along the boundary of our upland hay meadows on the site.The first task of the day was to peg down sections of coir and sisal matting left over from matting trials where we tested for their ability to stabilise soils on steep gillsides running along the property as part of a flood resilience research project run in partnership with the University of Cumbria.

We secured the matting with bamboo pegs. We hope that creating a small section of hedge planting with the matting will give us a better insight into its efficacy in suppressing competing grass and weeds. Something we will be able to assess as the hedge grows in coming years with a view to employing on future projects.

Our small team of volunteers planted a variety of native species predominantly hawthorn with blackthorn, dog rose, holly, hazel and field maple providing diversity in the hedgerow. The fencing installed on either side of the planting will give the young saplings the best chance to thrive in their early years. A day of digging, planting, staking and tubing saw the team complete 140 metres of hedging, putting us on target to complete the task in the coming weeks.

In time, and with the healthy growth of the hedge, we will remove the fencing protecting the young trees and employ ‘hedge laying‘ techniques to create a natural barrier formed from the hedge plants. This will not only provide a valuable wildlife habitat, it will also serve to slow the run-off of water from the steep gills into the beck along with the extensive tree planting already completed at the site.

As always, it was another brilliant effort from our volunteers and we even got a thumbs up from Dan of DB Contracts (pictured) enjoying the sunshine after a week on-site braving some challenging Cumbrian weather. Dan and his team have done a brilliant job, stepping in at short notice to install the fencing for us, allowing us to crack on with the planting.

This is just one of many regular volunteer workparties running throughout 2022 so do visit our website for more information. There are a variety of tasks that we need help with on land across the county so you'll find a wide variety of volunteering opportunities in 2022 with Friends of the Lake District.