A stunning day of autumn sunshine saw 50 volunteers, task leaders and Friends of the Lake District staff who took part in the Friends’ big volunteer event Haweswater Fell Care Day on Thursday 4th November.

After an enforced break due to the pandemic in 2020, our 21st large scale volunteer Fell Care Day saw an enthusiastic band of volunteers taking part in a range of conservation tasks around Haweswater and Orton which yielded some impressive results for the area:

  • 50 volunteers
  • 150 juniper trees carried up above Blea Water and planted,
  • 15 bags of peat-free compost (22,500 litres!) moved to fill raised beds in the RSPB Naddle tree nursery
  • 10 km of upland trails (bridleway and footpaths) maintained by the Fix the Fells volunteer group.
  • 1000 tree guards removed at woodland in Orton, which will be recycled.
  • 3 metres of dry stone wall repaired
  • Approximately 200 pieces of cakes consumed

The impact on the ground was significant too with a dry stone wall gap fixed, 10 km of path repaired, 150 junipers planted, several tonnes of compost moved, over 1000 tree guards removed from woodland in Orton, and approximately 200 slices of cake eaten.

Spike Webb, warden at RSPB Haweswater led a team of volunteers who carried juniper saplings and equipment 2km up the fell to above Blea Water and then planted the trees out.

He said: “We planted 150 juniper up at Blea Water, each with a mesh cage to protect them from deer and sheep. We had 20 volunteers and it was great to be able to get all the trees and tools up the fell in one go - it was a 2km walk up a fairly steep route - without that much help we would have taken several days to complete this job as there is no vehicle access.

“It was a fantastic day helped by the good weather and everyone worked hard and enjoyed their time in such a beautiful location. Some of the volunteers enquired about joining us for more workparty days!”

Photo: Volunteers planting juniper high above Blea Water, Haweswater.

The planting is part of a larger scale project of habitat restoration at Haweswater by the RSPB and United Utilities.

Volunteers also helped repair and maintain 10km of upland paths with the Fix the Fells team, repaired a dry stone wall and removed 1000 tree guards at woodland in Orton, which will be recycled. At the end of the day a great spotted woodpecker was seen working its way round the base of the newly revealed tree trunks, picking off grubs exposed by the removal of the guards.

In the RSPB's Naddle tree nursery volunteers emptied 22,500 litres of peat free compost into large raised beds. The beds will be used to raise native trees from seed collected on the Haweswater site. They will then be planted back out on site as part of a landscape scale restoration project. Some volunteers also spent part of the day processing crab apple seed ready to be stratified over winter and weeding juniper plants in the juniper nursery.

Douglas Chalmers of Friends of the Lake District said: “It was great to be able to hold a Fell Care Day again and to see some long time volunteers as well as meeting some new ones. Thanks to them for all their hard work, to activity leaders from RSPB Haweswater and Fix the Fells, and last but not least to Willans in Kendal for generously providing the cake!”

For more photos of the day, see our facebook page.

Fell Care Days will return in 2022. Friends of the Lake District also runs smaller scale volunteer conservation days each week all year round. See https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/volunteering for more information.

Above: one of 150 juniper shrubs planted at Haweswater Fell Care Day