Read about the life and work of the Attingham Wardens

Attingham Park is a National Trust property comprising of an 18th Century mansion set in a Repton landscape; the Park and wider Estate includes a deer park, walled garden, several miles of the rivers Severn and Tern, extensive farmland and woodlands.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

E-On volunteer day

Today we had a corporate volunteering day, with 18 staff and trainees from E-On coming to work for a day in the Black Wood. The wood is on a quieter part of the Estate and, since last April, the base for a local Forest School. Today there were two projects to complete; the fencing off of a WWII bunker (to prevent young children from entering the bunker) and clearing the woodland perimeter fence of bramble and tree branches so that we can check its condition and make any repairs. The team arrived full of energy and enthusiasm, and after a safety talk and risk assessment got stuck in...

 < The bramble was thick and the fence totally overgrown in places
< But with a pair of thick gloves, some loppers, bowsaws and brushing hooks, they made quick work of clearing nearly the entire fenceline. Fantastic!

< The rest of the group drove posts into the ground with a drivall and carefully secured a chestnut paling fence

It was great to work alongside such an eager group and spirits didn't drop all day, despite the chilly weather! Good luck to the new recruits with the rest of their training, and I hope to be working with E-On again soon.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The snowdrops are coming...

They're on their way! While walking through some of the woodland with my colleagues we spotted the first snowdrops peeking out of the leafy ground. Not in flower yet, but a very welcome sight indeed - Attingham has some fantastic displays of snowdrops and in a few more weeks the woodland floors will be carpeted in this beautiful white flower.

This year Attingham is going to hold some special events revolving round the snowdrops, including extended opening hours on the 11th-14th February where visitors will be able to walk to some of the best viewing places and see the flowers by candlelight. I believe there will be mulled wine and mulled apple juice available from the Bothy as well... all the more reason to join in! Right now, staff are collecting jam jars to create lanterns so that we can light the pathways up and create a really beautiful, serene atmosphere.

Other news from the last few days includes the rising floodwater! The River Tern and River Severn have been steadily rising and have now overflowed out across the riverbanks and meadows. This creates quite a dramatic scene, as you can see in the photo below, as the water stretches out across the land infront of Attingham (picture taken from Tern Bridge).

Finally, I also had a lovely moment yesterday as I paused for a lunch break and looked up to see a sparrowhawk sat on a pile of bricks about 5 metres away from my vehicle. Unfortunately it flew off as I reached for my camera but it was still fantastic to see such a beautiful bird of prey so close by.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Feeding the deer

One of the favourite parts of my job is caring for our herd of fallow deer. This comes to the forefront in the period from the end of the rut (late October/early November) through to March/April, when we feed the herd every day. This is to help them through the cold winter months when the grass in the park is of a poorer quality. In the wild, deer can search for food over a much wider area than in an enclosed park, so we supplement their diet with deer nuts, roots (such as carrots and fodder beet) and hay.

The deer are quite used to our vehicles and soon come trotting over when we bring the food in, so it's a good opportunity to observe them and check their appearance for health. During the local school holidays and at weekends, we feed at 2pm near the deer park walk so that members of the public can watch the deer feeding. This usually proves pretty popular and is a fantastic opportunity for photographers looking for a close up shot.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Hello, and welcome to the first blog entry from the Attingham Park Wardens department. Here you will be able to read about the work that we do across the Estate, from the everyday jobs to special projects and events. As you can see, this blog is still under contruction but I hope to have it up and running and bursting with news as soon as possible!