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.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Thistle-bashing and barbecue
We started the week on Confluence Meadow, next to the confluence of the River Tern with the Severn. A sea of spear thistles needed to be dealt with before the seed heads mature; by cutting them at the base with a spade, we can prevent the seeds from spreading and joining the seed bank. Our Monday group got stuck in and we cleared the field in less than two hours. Then the team split into two; one group stayed with me to break up stone and spread it on the footpath that we are building under the Tern Bridge while the others headed to the deer park and cleared the vegetation that was growing through and over the park pale fence. Appearances are important and clearing the ivy, thistle and bracken off of the fence really keeps the traditional deer park fence looking smart.
A banded demoiselle spotted on a thistle
near the River Tern
On Monday evening I joined Bob Thurston and Mike Threadgold for the first of our annual pipistrelle bat counts. There is a maternity roost in the roof of one of our estate cottages and each year we do two counts in June and two in July to detemine the average number of bats using the site. The roost is actually the largest known pipistrelle maternity roost in the UK, so it is a fantastic thing to be part of it's ongoing surveillance. We gather just before dusk and sit quietly around the cottage, each person assigned one or two holes to watch and as each bat emerges to look for food, we click our counters. The roost usually numbers around 1000, although on that night we had just over 700 - it was quite a cool night which tends to put the bats off leaving the roost. There are three more counts to go so hopefully we will find higher numbers next time.
Volunteers arriving for their party which we held outside the Orangery
Tuesday was spent preparing for a very special event - our annual Volunteer's Party. This year we decided on a barbecue to thank our volunteers for all their time and effort over the last 12 months and over 260 people came along to join the fun. The large marquee, 130 chairs, 20 tables, the barbecue, charcoal and gas bottles kept several of the wardens busy as we set up - all while trying to dodge the heaviest rain showers. Luckily the weather improved and we had a gorgeous dry evening; including entertainment from a local choir, a prize draw for all the volunteers and as much barbequed venison sausage, potato salad and trifle as they could eat! Everyone had a good time and no-one complained about my slop-the-trifle-in-the-bowl technique so once again, thanks everyone and lets do it again next year!