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, 3 October 2013


The Harvest Fair and Uncovered weekend was a massive success! Two days of glorious sunshine and fascinating demonstrations, along with tasty freshly pressed apple juice and two sturdy ponies, meant that there was something for everyone to enjoy. I spent my weekend in the Deer Park playing assistant to Barbara Haddrill as she and her two cob ponies, Billy and Tyler, drew the crowds with demonstrations of horse logging. Before tractors, timber felled in woodlands would have been extracted by horses and the tradition continues today - horses can cope with sloping terrain, low branches and tight spaces to work in far better than tractors in some cases. We have recently widened a path through Repton's Wood and Barbara and her team pulled the timber out ready for our timber crane to load up and take away to the wood stack. When they were not hard at work, Billy and Tyler posed for photographs and a good fuss from everyone, even winning over a lady that had been afraid of horses for most of her life - it was a wonderful moment to see her joy at touching them.

Tyler working solo

Billy, Tyler and a very happy warden

 Working as a pair, these two sturdy ponies can pull up to a tonne at a time on flat ground - impressive!

This week we spent a day preparing a hedge at Duncote Farm for laying, cutting out the side branches and any dead elder and looking at which way to lay the pleachers. There are several young oaks in this hedge that we will leave to grow into standard trees, and I noticed a few of the leaves were covered in spangle galls. Each of these tiny discs contains a single gall wasp, Neuroterus quercusbaccarum, which fall to the ground over autumn and winter and emerge as adults in April. These spring emergers are all female and are 'agamic' or able to reproduce without mating. They lay their eggs in the buds of oak trees, forming currant galls on the catkins and leaves, which emerge in June as males and females. They then mate and lay their eggs on the underside of the oak leaves again and form the spangle galls.

Spangle galls

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