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.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Thistle stings and other things

A small tortoiseshell feeding on a thistle

The summer holidays are here once more, and some proper summer weather to go with it! The wardens have been beavering away keeping the park tidy and the walks trimmed, strimming several miles of paths around the park and river and fighting back against the nettles, thistles and hogweed. You may have noticed that the overflow car park is having some serious work and we are using the back drives to park cars for a few months; by autumn we will have the whole car park resurfaced and with drainage systems in place to help us keep all of the area open during those wet winter months. There is a bit of disruption while all this is going on, but please bear with us - the new car park will be worth it!

The warm weather has brought out plenty of people to enjoy the park, which is fantastic. One small plea though - if you are bringing your dog, please don't leave them in the car when the temperatures are this high. We have been getting an increasing amount of concerned visitors reporting dogs left in cars, some with no windows down, water or even shade - this is incredibly dangerous as temperatures can rise in minutes inside a car to unbearable levels. We appreciate that if you are on your own and need to pop to the toilet or grab a cup of tea you may have to leave them in the car for 10 minutes but some of the dogs we have monitored have been left for two hours or more. In one case the RSPCA and police had to be called to release the dog, who was clearing suffering in the heat. Please look out for our furry friends - they can't take their coats off to cool down!

The ragwort is in flower again and we have started to pick it - we watch the plant carefully so that it has the maximum time in flower, as it is a source of food for all kinds of butterflies, bees and the cinnabar moth caterpillar - but need to pull it before it seeds. It's hard work in the hot sun - well done to all of the volunteers that have helped us so far. It is making a difference - the last few years have shown a marked reduction in ragwort across the park so our yearly pick is reducing the seedbank of this notifiable weed.

Four-spotted chaser

Last Sunday I led another guided walk, this time looking at the dragonflies on some of our ponds and the river Tern. Despite my slight panic at the weather (Saturday's downpours and the forecast for Sunday were far from ideal for dragonfly spotting!) the sun came out and we managed to see a good range of species, catching a few for a closer look. I would like to hear your ideas for future guided walks - what would you like to know more about? Where would you like to go on the Estate?

Ruddy darter